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In a procedure validation document, the first sentence in Section 12 "Linearity":

The linearity was evaluated by measuring the peak areas due to aspirin in a series of 12 chromatograms.

Do I need the definite article here, or can I write:

Linearity was evaluated by measuring the peak areas due to aspirin in a series of 12 chromatograms.

We are evaluating the linearity of the HPLC procedure. We are trying to explore whether the procedure produces results that are linear. But maybe there's no linearity at all: there may be no linear relationship between the results.

Somehow it feels like without the article it sounds okay. But I'm not sure.

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    peak areas due to aspirin could use some attention :) – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 19 '17 at 12:09
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    I'd leave the article off. Linearity was assessed by measuring the peak areas... Once linearity has been determined, then one would say "the linearity of such-and-such was established..." As you say: But maybe there's no linearity at all: there may be no linear relationship between the results. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 19 '17 at 12:24
  • @TRomano - yes, probably "the areas of peaks due to aspirin", I was sloppy in concocting an example. – CowperKettle Mar 19 '17 at 13:44
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Either one is OK. You're talking about the linearity of specific samples, so "the" linearity refers to those samples, equivalent to "The linearity of the samples was evaluated...".

You can also talk about the general property of linearity being evaluated by leaving out "the" (in the samples is obvious from the context), equivalent to "[In the samples] the property of linearity was evaluated...".

Both ways work fine for this application.

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