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After reviewing an interesting question and answer here: Is 'at the time of writing' correct?, I'm wondering if I couldn't do something more simple:

At time of writing, this is all that has been released publicly.

Another example I hear people saying is:

In future, _____________________

But to me, this sounds strange. Maybe it's just a pet-peeve of mine, but I would never say "in future." I would always say "in the future."

Is my brain just weird like this? Am I having early symptoms of schizophrenia? It seems I have conflicting inclinations regarding when to omit "the" from certain phrases.

Are either or both forms (with/omitting "the") acceptable? Or is there no magic bullet, and we must evaluate on a phrase by phrase basis each and every time?

  • 1
    You can omit it whenever it doesn't sound strange. – Simon B Aug 30 '18 at 16:16
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It's far too complicated (and varying between dialects) to have a general rule for articles, but I can address the specific cases you brought up.

I did some searches in the Corpus of Contemporary American English and got these results:

  • at time of writing: 5 hits
  • at the time of writing: 80 hits
  • . In future ,: 14 hits
  • . In the future ,: 566 hits

I'm not sure what to say about the 5 hits for "at time of writing" other than I would include the definite article. It's hard to say why there are 5 hits, since all the results (such as this one) would have had proofreaders. In any case, I think it's safe to say, based off the fact that the sole answer to the question you linked has 35 upvotes and no downvotes, that most people agree with including the definite article.

Some of the hits for "in future" are likely leaking in from British English (since it sounds really strange to my ear, as an American):

However, when it means “from now on”, there is a divide between American English and British English. An American would still say “in the future”, as in the previous case, whereas a Brit would likely say “in future” (with no article).
‘In the future’ vs. ‘in future’ in British and American English

  • As a brit, 'in future' sounds perfectly OK to me. I did my own Google Ngram search, and you can see that once upon a time it was the preferred variant. – TonyK Aug 30 '18 at 18:03
  • @TonyK I don't doubt that it's still current in BrE. The only reason there's so few hits in my search is because I searched COCA, which is American. If you search Google NGram for only British results, you don't see much of a drop in usage for "in future". The BNC, which is COCA's British counterpart, returns 70 results for . in future ,. – Laurel Aug 30 '18 at 18:35

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