Which one is correct or preferred?

  1. The command /reload is... < some description >
  2. The /reload command is... < some description >
  • 2
    Probly the second one. They're both grammatical, but since you have to choose one and stick to it, The /reload command is probly the less irritating way to say it. It makes a fairly good header, too. Aug 1, 2014 at 19:11
  • 1
    If you wish to identify the command you are about to describe then #2 is better. If, instead, you are using /reload as an example in a discussion of how commands are processed (or something of that nature) you would use #1.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 16, 2015 at 1:56
  • I agree with Hot Licks. There is no strict preference, but there are situations where one would be better than other.
    – Dog Lover
    Apr 7, 2017 at 5:33
  • In the question itself there's no real difference but if you later try indexing every similar instance, 'the command /reload' will list all your commands together by category and 'the /reload command' will return everything alphabetically sub-sorted by commands and keywords and tokens and what have you. Which, if either, works better goes beyod the original, doesn't it? Apr 21, 2017 at 19:03

4 Answers 4


They have slightly different meanings, IMO.

The stop button is the button you use to stop the thing so the reload command is the command you use to reload the thing. This might or might not be /reload in any given programming language.

Whilst you might get away with a /reload command, the command /reload is better because it makes it clear that you are talking about this particular command as opposed to any other command that also causes a reload. You would also have to do it this way if the command were more complicated. For example, in some imaginary language, you might say

The command /reload(newdata,5) is the reload command you use if you want to use new data and have a delay of 5 seconds.

The longer the command the more awkward it would be to put it before the word "command".


If you must use either "the X command" or "the command X" throughout the paper or article or manual you are writing, then I agree with John Lawler that "the X command" is probably the better choice because it sounds a bit more natural and therefore is less likely to intrude on the flow of the narrative by calling attention to itself.

However, I have read many articles that use both forms at different places in the same piece—and there's nothing wrong with doing that. Indeed, if your article walks readers through several dozen commands, one per paragraph, over the course of five or six print pages, readers will probably be grateful for some variety in the running-text presentation.

On the other hand, if each command name appears as a subhead or as an entry in a bulleted list, for example, the convenience of being able to scan the subheads or the list and not have to deal with complications arising from instances of transposed order (for example, X command, Y command, and command Z) trumps the "spice of life" argument in favor of variety.


(This was originally a comment, but my impression is that the other answers are not much less about readability and style than this is, so I'm throwing it out there as an "answer".)

Most of the time, I would say:

Command reload is...

IMO, there are far too many extraneous "the" instances in most technical doc.

The AA command checks whether the BB table has an index on the CC column, the DD column, and the EE column.


Command AA checks whether table BB has an index on columns CC, DD, and EE.


The first sentence needs commas in order to be grammatically correct

The command, reload, is assigned to the F5 key

without them, it sounds as if the command is being reloaded. when written, at least

The command reload caused the computer to fail

Putting commas will add the pause needed to inflect the name of the command.

  • You are not addressing the OP's scenario.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 16, 2015 at 1:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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