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Fill in the right articles: A, An, the, Ø.

Boyle's law states ____ pressure of ____ gas is inversely proportional to ____ volume of ____ gas ____ constant temperature.

I Agree to @my name's response to this question. As @my name explains pressure and volume are specific to gas, so we use "the." But what about "temperature". Should it be "the constant temperature" or "constant temperature?"

Also, temperature, pressure, and volume are all uncountable nouns. Thus, indefinite articles (a and an) does not follow them. But take a look at the sentence below from Wikipedia. In which indefinite article "a" follows them. This really confuses me.

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  • Can you make this sound more like you don't know what to fill in here, and less like you're giving us homework, please.
    – Mr Lister
    Aug 9, 2019 at 20:21
  • @MrLister: Updated
    – Anonymous
    Aug 9, 2019 at 20:55
  • Compare: For a fixed amount of an ideal gas kept at some fixed temperature, pressure and volume are inversely proportional. // I'm not sure that temperature is an uncountable noun in this sentence. Where did you see this? // We don't need articles with a simple list of variables. Aug 10, 2019 at 7:04
  • It should be constant temperature (no article). Aug 10, 2019 at 7:06

1 Answer 1

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Boyle's law states the pressure of a gas is inversely proportional to the volume of the gas.

In this case we are referring to an arbitrary gas in the first instance, hence the 'a'. This arbitrary gas has only a single pressure associated with it, so we refer to it as 'the' pressure. The second reference to gas is again to that same gas in the first instance, so we again use 'the' to show that it is a specific gas. Finally, the gas again only has one volume so we refer to that volume specifically with 'the'.

The second instance of gas may be confusing, and in this case a clearer option might be:

Boyle's law states the pressure of a gas is inversely proportional to the volume of that gas.

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  • What if I modify the above sentence to "Boyle's law states ____ pressure of ____ gas is inversely proportional to ____ volume of ____ gas at ____ constant temperature." Now, should it be "a constant temperature" or "the constant temperature?"
    – Anonymous
    Aug 9, 2019 at 20:12
  • One question per question, please.
    – Davo
    Aug 9, 2019 at 20:13

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