The purchaser's solicitor has a duty to make the purchaser aware of the provisions of clause 9 of the standard contract.

This is an extract from a book.

Shouldn't there be an article "the" before the word "clause 9"? The clause 9 is identified in the sentence as the clause of the standard contract.

However, if I add "the" before clause 9 there are too many "the" in the sentence, and it does not sound right:

make the purchaser aware of the provisions of the clause 9 of the standard contract.

What would be the correct usage?

  • 1
    related question Oct 15, 2016 at 12:30
  • When the noun is followed by an identifier (a number, a proper name, an alphanumeric code) there is no need to use the definite article, as the identifier already specifies the particular member of the class. Which clause? Ø Clause 9. Which room? Ø Room 202. Which gymnast? ... Ø gymnast Simone Biles. Which peptide? Ø peptide LC-28.
    – TimR
    Oct 15, 2016 at 13:32
  • When the identifier is a perceived to be a proper name, such that we could refer to the noun by name only ( Simone Biles....LC-28) then when we do use the definite article, the noun phrase and the proper name are apposite: the swimmer, Michael Phelps; the gymnast, Simone Biles; the peptide LC-28." When the identifier is merely a number which is not unique, then we don't use the article. Room 202.
    – TimR
    Oct 15, 2016 at 13:40
  • because the number "202" is not the name of an entity.
    – TimR
    Oct 15, 2016 at 13:45
  • @TRomano If it takes 3 comments to explain, maybe it would be better written as an answer :)
    – ColleenV
    Oct 15, 2016 at 13:58

1 Answer 1


The original sentence is correct. Typically contracts contain clauses (paragraphs or sections) which are numbered sequentially or with some hierarchy, and are referred to using their numbers. This is similar to the way chapters or pages in a book are numbered: "chapter 1" or "page 12".

"Clause 9" is logically equivalent to "The clause which is numbered 9". This usage of a noun without an article ("a" or "the") is called "zero article"

"The clause 9" suggests that 9 is a clause, but that's not the case. 9 is a number, not a clause.

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