What is the most common way to identify a particular line of code in a talk or lecture?

  1. On the seventeenth line of this code"
  2. On the line seventeen of this code"
  3. On the line number seventeen of this code"

Since we are identifying a particular line, the definite article should be needed, surely? If not, why not?

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, JonMark Perry, curiousdannii, Rory Alsop, Skooba Jul 17 '18 at 15:16

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 3
    It's way more common to simply say it's on line 17 [of this code]. – FumbleFingers Jul 14 '18 at 16:41

Assuming it's known I'm talking about code, I would simply say:

On line seventeen.

If not, let's say I'm discussing a piece of software, I would qualify the sentence:

On line seventeen of the code.

I would only use this if I were comparing one piece of code with another and visually indicating a particular piece of code.

I might phrase it as in your first sentence, but only in a specific, and uncommon, formal context.

That said, your second and third sentences are ungrammatical because neither should have the as their second word.

  • 1
    +1 for the final sentence -- the "the" in lines #2 and #3 of the question should definitely be removed. – A C Jul 15 '18 at 4:04
  • But you're not answering the OP's bottommost question, which I believe is the real question. – Mr Lister Jul 15 '18 at 9:49
  • 2
    @MrLister the answer to the specific question of why could be improved by making a distinction between ordinal and cardinal numbers: as per the OPs examples, only the former requires an article. e.g. "on the second day of the trip..." (ordinal number) vs "on day two of the trip..." (cardinal number). – Michael MacAskill Jul 15 '18 at 10:04

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