I'm writing a paper about an algorithm that I have developed. Just for illustration, I will say that the method name is "quicksort". My question is about the usage of the in the following context:

This paper proposes quicksort, a novel and fast algorithm. The advantage of quicksort is that...

My question is whether I should use "The advantage of the quicksort..." or "The advantage of quicksort".

I am also looking for resources explaining the usage of the in this context.

Usually, to check if a certain sentence is correct, I search Google using wildcards. However, in this case, the correct answer is depends on the context. I have also tried to find a answer in the following book but without success: Science Research Writing: A Guide for Non-Native Speakers of English.

  • The advantage of this particular algorithm is... – mplungjan Apr 11 '13 at 13:22
  • 4
    If it's your algorithm & it's new, why not capitalize it to make it a proper name? Then you can write "The advantage of Quicksort is..." or "The advantage of the Quicksort algorithm is...". – user21497 Apr 11 '13 at 13:26
  • Please put in some background effort, after which if you are still not sure, you may ask on ell.stackexchange.com – Kris Apr 11 '13 at 13:31
  • This is no different from asking where and whether one uses a definite article before any proper noun. It has nothing to do with science per se. – tchrist Apr 11 '13 at 14:13
  • 1
    @Kris I can provide more background information. However, since I'm new here, I'm not sure what kind of information I should provide for this question. – Alceu Costa Apr 11 '13 at 14:30

If it is a method and you are mentioning a specific example of when you used it, you should use the to refer to that specific instance.

If you are referring to the method in general, usually you wouldn't want to use any article in front of it.

If you are referring to a nonspecific instance of using it and just instances of using it in general, you likely want to use a or an before its name.

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.