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Shall I use the definite, or just indefinite article: an action plan vs the action plan, in the following phrase:

Based on the results of work, an action plan shall be developed and submitted to the head of the executive committee

Many thanks,

alex

  • What are your arguments for each case? (Please edit your question to add those arguments.) – Lawrence Jan 12 '18 at 5:03
  • -1 because we have no way of knowing; you have provided no context. Either the action plan or an action plan work, depending on the context and/or the speaker's intentions. – AmE speaker May 16 '18 at 17:24
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First occurrence: an action plan

Based on the results of work, an action plan shall be developed and submitted to the head of the executive committee

Second occurrence: the plan

The plan will have four sections.

Stylistically, in English, a general thing begins life with a/an. Then, the next time it is mentioned, it becomes "the x".

This is a standard style.

Another example:

We're building a pool in our garden. The pool will measure 30 x 19 yards.

example for moving from "an action plan" to "the action plan"

This is an extremely useful usage example for Russian speakers, as there are no determiners in Russian.

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'The' is used as an article when the noun is specific or particular.

For example, if I say, "Let's read the book," I mean a specific book. If I say, "Let's read a book," I mean any book rather than a specific book.

In the sentence you've mentioned, the action plan is not devised yet. Thus, it is not specific.

So, you may use 'an' here.

  • But if the preceding sentence was: “It has been determined that an action plan is required.” Then the is correct. In other words there is not enough context here to say one way or the other. They are both grammatical. – Jim Jan 12 '18 at 18:42
  • I am not sure about this. But both 'an' and 'the' can be used in that case. 'the' would be used when the action plan is already defined. Let's say the action plan is named 'Plan B'. Then the sentence would go like "It has been determined that the Plan B is required." – Kshitij Jan 13 '18 at 8:05
  • Actually, I'd skip the article altogether for the Plan B example in your comment. – Lawrence Jan 14 '18 at 9:00
  • I married a woman from Jersey is about as specific and particular as I can get. – AmE speaker May 16 '18 at 17:23

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