I'm writing an academic article and using a phrase "sensor fusion". Whenever I Google this phrase it is without "the", what I personally intend to use. The only explanation I found is that some common types of nouns don't take an article; such as the names of academic subjects: mathematics, biology, history, computer science. But "sensor fusion" is rather a method in an engineering instead of an academic subject.

What is the explanation for omitting "the"?

My original sentence as a reply to the reviewer: "A better implication of the sensor fusion was indicated through the paper"

(In my original language I don't use articles and it is my biggest problem in English.)

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    If you say "the sensor fusion", you are talking about a particular instance of sensor fusion. If you say "sensor fusion", you are talking about the phenomenon of sensor fusion in general. – Peter Shor Feb 10 '13 at 13:35

I am not a scientist, but I think I can help you with the difference between using sensor fusion with the and using it without an article.

If you are talking about the methodology sensor fusion in a general way, you should not use the. Here are a few simple example sentences:

Sensor fusion is the best methodology to use.

The methodology I would recommend the most is sensor fusion.

However, if, for example, you pair sensor fusion with another noun, such as approach, methodology or experiment, and are talking about one of these in a specific way, it would be correct to write sentences like these:

We tried sensor fusion and data integration, but only the sensor fusion approach worked.

Experiments using the sensor fusion methodology showed positive results.

The sensor fusion experiments were successful, but the data integration experiments were not.

When I consider your sentence "A better implication of the sensor fusion was indicated through the paper", first of all, the correct preposition to use would be throughout, not through, and I do not have enough information to decide whether you need the article the, but I think that if you are talking about sensor fusion in a specific way, it would be clearer to pair it with another noun, as in the examples I have provided above; also, the meanings of the noun implication and the passive verb implicated are not clear to me.

However, I would suggest that my distinction between (1) using sensor fusion in a general way (no article) and (2) when paired with another noun and used in a specific way, might be useful to you.

  • Thank you. Great reply. My reviewer writes: "None of the papers do focus on advances in such a “fusion” research area." I understand that in this case I would use "the" as I reply to the reviewer's comment. In general you helped me to see why I can't google "the sensor fusion" and where was a flow in my thinking. Thanks – tomasz74 Feb 10 '13 at 14:05
  • I believe that in "... but only the sensor fusion approach worked" the the is there for the approach not sensor fusion. You could say, "but only sensor fusion worked", just as you'd say, "but only the first approach worked". – Wayne Mar 2 '14 at 20:15
  • I might add that 'the sensor fusion' without pairing it with a noun is actually valid English, but instead means 'the act of fusing some sensors'. One might say, for example, 'The data integration went great, but we blew up our laboratory during the sensor fusion.' – Sanchises Sep 27 '14 at 9:56

We do not ordinarily use an article with the name of a process or common event, except to designate a specific instance.

Allow me to illustrate using a process I understand, elision, instead of one I don’t, so I may avoid ignorant and irrelevant statements about sensor fusion.

Elision means eliminating some sounds from a word in specific phonetic or metrical contexts.
Elision is very frequent in Shakespeare’s verse.

In both of these statements we are speaking of the general phenomenon, and therefore do not use an article.

In the line Woo't weep? Woo't fight? Woo't fast? Woo't tear thyself?, the meter requires elision of wouldest thou to woo't.

Here we still do not use the article, because we are speaking of bringing the general phenomenon to bear on a specific case.

The elisions in Woo't weep? Woo't fight? Woo't fast? Woo't tear thyself? throws a heavier emphasis on the verbs weep, fight, fast, tear.

Here we are talking of specific, realized instances of the phenomenon, and consequently we employ the article.

  • Elision is applied to 'phonetic and metrical contexts'. I do not think a scientific paper would be written in a meter. The real question here is when to use and when not to use the article, not to make it fit in a meter. – Sanchises Sep 27 '14 at 9:53
  • @sanchises I believe you mistake what I'm saying. The relevant article is the one present or absent before the word elision, a standin for sensor fusion, not the one in the quotation which is elided. But I will replace my example so this is less confusing. – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 27 '14 at 16:22
  • Oh yes, I would have seem to misread you a little. Excuse me :) – Sanchises Sep 27 '14 at 17:45
  • @sanchises Not at all; it's my fault, my original example was confusing. – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 27 '14 at 17:47

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