Assume that I am writing an email to a colleague about a paper and I want to include the sentence

The problem X is discussed in a/the remark near the end of the paper.

Here X is some problem whose nature is irrelevant for this question. The remark I am talking about has not been mentioned before. My question is: should I use 'a' or 'the' before the word 'remark'?

On the one hand, I am talking about a specific remark, so I thought about the 'the' first. On the other hand, the remark has not been mentioned in the body of the email, so shouldn't it be used with an 'an' when it is introduced for the first time (as in for example 'A bear walks into a bar...')?

1 Answer 1


It really depends if the remark at the end of the paper is easily identifiable as the remark you refer to. If it is hidden among other remarks it is misleading to say the remark, because the reader will not know which remark. On the other hand, if it is very clear which remark you refer to, you may consider using the. I would write a remark, because there are likely more related remarks at the end of the paper.

I have another problem though: a remark is nothing like a discussion. So probably, either discussed is a bit exaggerated and should be replaced with something like also mentioned, or a remark is an understatement. In the latter case I would write: "The problem X is discussed in more detail near the end of the paper."

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