I wrote:

A rule is matched based on the properties of the current node and the current values of context variables.

context variables are specific, then I thought it must be:

... the current values of the context variables.

But then I though when values have a the, I might not need to use another "the" for context variables.

Is there such a rule?!

What about the first part:

... current values of the context variables.

does values need the? why?

  • 1
    No, there's no such rule. To talk about specific context variables you need the definite article. Sep 17, 2016 at 14:02
  • 1
    It matters whether they're context variables in general, or specific context variables. It doesn't really matter whether you used the with values. For example, "the weight of cats" = the weight of cats in general. "The weight of the cats" = the weight of specific cats.
    – stangdon
    Sep 17, 2016 at 14:12
  • @stangdon I see, what about the opposite part, I mean the the for values or the of weight. why do you use it?
    – Ahmad
    Sep 17, 2016 at 14:22
  • 3
    Apart from the current node, where the article is required, it's really just a stylistic choice which if any of the other three to include. I think it would be clumsy and verbose to use all four. Personally my preferred option would be ... based on properties of the current node and current values of the context variables - but if I were going to include a third article it would be the one before properties, not current values. Sep 17, 2016 at 14:30

1 Answer 1


Your question is less about grammar and more about style. One common rule in good English style is to keep structures parallel when writing lists of things. For example, "Tomorrow I'm scheduled to meet my mother, visit the new art exhibit, and reconsider my life choices." All the verbs match tense, and the elements in the list are in the same general sentence structure.

In your example, you have "the properties of the current node" in the first part of the sentence, so in the second part "the current values of the context variables" feels more tidy.

Alternately you could write, "... the current node's properties and the context variables' current values." It doesn't matter which as long as all of the elements of the list match.

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