Say, I'm writing a letter about some plan:

We are about to start next round of testing tomorrow.

Current plan is:

  • team A does something

  • team B does something else

  • etc.

Do I need to put "The" before "Current"? From my point of view the article is excessive, as "current" is defining enough.

1 Answer 1


In English, some kind of determiner or quantifier is almost always required (except with proper nouns, plural nouns, and "uncountable" nouns). In this case any of the following would complete the sentence:

The current plan

My current plan

This current plan

Every current plan

and many others. The only time "current plan" would not take a determiner is if it was the name of something, like a movie:

I see that "Current Plan" is playing at the local theater.

I understand that this may seem excessive to non-English speakers, but nevertheless this is how the language works.

More about using articles before nouns

Edit: There are many special cases in English, like with labels, technical descriptions, newspaper headlines, and other "abbreviated" forms of English, where the article is routinely omitted. Your sentence is not one of these, since it sounds like something you wrote as a business memo, but as an example in a headline:

"Current Plan Insufficient" Says Mayor

Articles are also often omitted in informal conversation like in email or texts.

Hey what u think of current plan?

  • 1
    You've missed one there Andrew. It can also be used without an article if it is followed by a colon ':'. I often see that in movies, games and books. Like "Current time: 7am" or "Location: New York". Of course I would prefer the longer version if there is no need for clarity, "The current plan is:". Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 3:43
  • 1
    @SovereignSun That's why I said "almost always". There are many special cases like labels and headlines where you don't have to include the article because it takes up extra space -- but as often mentioned here "Newspaper/Technical English" follows its own set of rules.
    – Andrew
    Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 3:53
  • I agree! Still it might be a good point to postscript such info. Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 3:58
  • @SovereignSun OK, edited. I can't see "current plan" fitting into one of these other than perhaps as a newspaper headline, but you never know.
    – Andrew
    Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 4:08
  • Two points: (1) Determiners such as this and every can work in some cases, but not the OP’s email. (2) The omission of such determiners is not all that uncommon in informal speech, and sometimes this informal tone bleeds into emails, too. (For example: Hope you’re feeling better, or: Heard you got that promotion – congrats!). Of course, we could make these sentences more grammatical and complete by adding the determiners (I hope you’re feeling better; We heard you got that promotion), but learners shouldn’t be surprised to find such omissions in everyday office correspondence.
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 8:41

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