0

What article should I use when referring to a modified version of an object?

For example, I try to shorten "a modified version of Dijkstra's algorithm" and I'm not sure which of the following are correct:

  1. I intend to use the modified Dijkstra's algorithm.
  2. I intend to use a modified Dijkstra's algorithm.
  3. I intend to use modified Dijkstra's algorithm.

I googled these and there does not seem to be a consensus: 1980 results for the, 1710 results for a. Do the usual rules for using articles apply here?

  • 1
    The raw Google results will mask whether this is a subsequent mention in an article say. (And is there a second (etc) modified version, or is there a possibility that one will be developed?) – Edwin Ashworth Aug 24 '15 at 21:49
3

The usage of "the" as opposed to "a" is dependent on the ambiguity surrounding the modified object. Is it a version which has already been defined? If so, "the" is correct. If not, "a" is correct.

For example, in your included Google searches there is a paper that uses both "the" and "a": http://jwcn.eurasipjournals.com/content/pdf/1687-1499-2014-90.pdf

Notice in the title when the specifics of the algorithm are uncertain "a" is used. Later on, when the exact algorithm is understood, "the" is used.

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