1

1)
A. A series of computer instructions relating to each other is called computer program.
B. A series of computer instructions relating to each other is called a computer program.

2)
A. The computer instructions written in a programming language are called code.
B. The computer instructions written in a programming language are called the code.
C. The computer instructions written in a programming language are called a code.

I was told that for 1 B is correct and for 2 A is correct. So sometimes an article is required and sometimes not.

I would appreciate if anyone could point me to a rule or an explanation I can study so I can learn how to decide by myself which of sentences like these are correct:

The rectangles an Excel Worksheet consists of are called cells.
The rectangles an Excel Worksheet consists of are called its cells.

The three values representing colors are called color code.
The three values representing colors are called a color code.
The three values representing colors are called the color code.  

In coding = is called assignment operator.
In coding = is called an assignment operator.
In coding = is called the assignment operator. 

Converting code into machine language is called compilation. Converting code into machine language is called a compilation.

Joining character strings end-to-end is called concatenation.
Joining character strings end-to-end is called a concatenation. 

A combination of an operator with a series of integers and / or strings is called expression.
A combination of an operator with a series of integers and / or strings is called an expression. 

Thank you, Vidul

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You say : I was told that for 1 B is correct and for 2 A is correct. So sometimes an article is required and sometimes not.

You were having difficulty understanding why there was an article used in ...is called a computer programme, but not in ...is called code.

The answer is simply that "computer programme" is a countable noun, while "code", used in this sense, is a mass noun - and hence does not take an article.

In the same way one might say "I came downstairs this morning and found an upturned bucket and water all over the kitchen floor". The bucket is countable but water is not.

This will probably help you with the other examples you quote.

| improve this answer | |
  • Your explanation about countable and mass nouns fully clarifies the matter. Thank you very much WS2 – Vidul May 7 at 12:15
  • Something came up. In "Joining character strings end-to-end is called concatenation." concatenation is countable. Should it therefore read "Joining character strings end-to-end is called a concatenation." ? – Vidul May 7 at 12:51
  • @Vidul To be honest, it is not a word that I frequently use. However please remember that many words have both a countable and a non-countable sense. A quick look-up I did on concatenation indicates that it is a "series of interconnected things", as well as "the action of creating such a series". So in deciding countability you will need to take account of these facts. – WS2 May 7 at 13:57
  • Thank you WS2 for your additional explanation. What I find most important to remember is that many words have both a countable and a non-countable sense. – Vidul May 9 at 5:21

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