Practical English Usage 142.20 reads

We usually leave out articles in abbreviated styles:

numbering and labelling

  • Go through door A
  • Control to Car 27: can you hear me?
  • Turn to page 26.

What can be considered labels? For example, "on page 10" and "in Chapter 2" are clear. But do the following need "the"?

  • The/_ name 'John' is popular.
  • We suggest use the/_ method Y...
  • ...as the/_ variable x grows...
  • The/_ words "evokeo cvec" do not mean anything.

In other words, can "the" be omitted in every noun + its label/name phrase?


Edit I have completely rewritten this answer, because what I wrote first (about the context), though accurate, was not in fact the answer to the question. Thank you for calling me on it, @homocomputeris.

This form without "the" is used only when the item is one of a set of [noun]s which are distinguished by the letter or number: the combination of [noun] and the label act as the name, but you couldn't (usually) use just the label without the noun.

So your "method" example would work, if there was a recognised list of methods referred to as X, Y, Z ... (either in the present document, or in the field at large).

It's possible that "variable x" might be used that way, but I'm not sure.

The "name" and "words" examples do not work, though.

| improve this answer | |
  • Well, and if it is not an instruction: "I could not find his number in the phone book because the/_ page 15 hand been torn out"? – homocomputeris Dec 6 '18 at 18:14
  • My apologies, @homocomputeris: my answer , though accurate, completely misses the point of your question. I will rewrite it. – Colin Fine Dec 6 '18 at 23:47

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