I can't understand when I must use articles and when not? Here are some examples:

Now that the extension have been installed successfully, let’s configure it. Now head to config folder and open web.php file.

Why are there no articles before config folder and file? Both of them are nouns. Explain to me please why there are no articles before these words?

  • Welcome to ELL.SE. Where does this sentence appear? I would ordinarily insert the in front of web.php file, so it may be that the original source has errors, or is written in an unusual style.
    – choster
    Aug 16, 2016 at 20:27
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    @PikaevViktor - The author Ahmed Khan is not an English speaker. The text contains many other odd constructions such as "Elasticsearch don’t ends here." This should not be seen as useful text to a new student except as an example of very poor English. Aug 16, 2016 at 20:38
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    Use of the articles in English is probably the most common subject of questions here at ELL. It's especially difficult for learners whose native language does not use them! Look at the Related questions to the right, try this link, and most important: read, read, and read some more in English. Over time it will become easier for you. Aug 16, 2016 at 20:44
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    @mattew please don't remove good titles and replace them with unhelpful generic titles. This question is not about generically using articles, it's about using articles in this specific case.
    – Catija
    Aug 16, 2016 at 21:06
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    @PikaevViktor I appreciate your gesture, but my comment is not the sort of answer which would help future searchers. It's just good advice! Aug 16, 2016 at 21:17

2 Answers 2


The text was probably written by a non-native speaker, since it has multiple errors.

Now that the extension have been [...]

This should either be

Now that the extensions have been [..]

when its multiple extensions, or

Now that the extension has been

when its a single one.

I would rewrite the second sentence as following:

Now head to the config folder and open the file named web.php. You might write "open the file web.php", but its not idiomatic.

In technical writing, "the file named X" is quite idiomatic. "Head to the folder [...]" is rather unusual. Idiomatic usage is "Open the folder [...] " or "Switch to the directory [...]".

Anyways, there should be articles in the sentence.


I believe the answer is "because this was written by somebody who does not have English as a first language".

I would write "open file web.php" but "open the web.php file".

In the first case "web.php" is a name, and 'file' is a noun limiting it: in technical or journalistic writing you can omit the article in this kind of structure (compare "conductor Sir Simon Rattle" or "Olympic champion Christian Taylor). In more formal writing you would use an article even in those examples: the file web.php, the conductor Sir Simon Rattle.

In the second case, you have a noun phrase with a common noun "file" as the head, so it requires an article as well as the modifier "web.php".

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