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Assuming that a function f is defined, which one of the following statements is correct with respect to the use of article for "call"? I know that i is already introduced, but how about the call?

  • For any tuple of the form (i, j, k), a call f(i) is made.
  • For any tuple of the form (i, j, k), the call f(i) is made.
  • For any tuple of the form (i, j, k), call f(i) is made.
  • For any tuple of the form (i, j, k), f(i) is made.
  • One of the first two is correct; which one to use may depend on the exact context (in many contexts, both will be fine, but the first one will usually be acceptable). – Peter Shor Nov 18 '14 at 15:24
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    depending on context, I can see the three first options all being correct. The last one makes little sense, since I would assume f(i) to be a function, not a call. – oerkelens Nov 18 '14 at 15:24
  • Can you please give examples of the contexts where the first and second ones are correct, but perhaps mean something different? – Wickoo Nov 18 '14 at 15:30
  • @Ali Using "a call f(i)" suggests that we think the reader is not familiar with call f(i), that call f(i) can be more than one thing (that there can be more than one kind of call f(i), or both. Using "the call f(i)" suggests that we think the reader is familiar with call f(i), knows that call f(i) can refer to only one thing, or both. Not being a programmer, I can guess that this is documentation describing an application or the function of some code. – Jim Reynolds Nov 18 '14 at 17:19
  • @Ali If we can assume that our reader will have a background knowledge such that he or she will know that "call f(i)" can only refer to a particular thing, and not any other, then this is more clearly signaled with "the". – Jim Reynolds Nov 18 '14 at 17:21
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How about

•For any tuple of the form (i, j, k), a call to f(i) is made.

Calling a function is the same as asking for some kind of action to be performed.

For any beverage of the form (soda,wine,water), a call to drink is made.

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I would say

... a call to the f(i)

The function is already defined as you mentioned in your question. You don't give something a definite article until it has been initialized, realized, created.

Unless it were a hypothetical situation, you wouldn't refer to a non-existent fetus (at the least) as The Baby. You wouldn't refer to a non-existent bar as The Bar.

So, if I were referencing a function that already existed, I would use a definite article.

For any tuple of the form (i, j, k), the call f(i) is made.

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