The two anonymous referees of this journal made great comments.

It seems to me that because they are anonymous we should not use "the" for them. Or we should?

  • Use the if there were only two, omit it if there more than two. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 28 '18 at 16:03
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    Whether or not to include the article wouldn't normally have anything to do with them being anonymous. The difference is that if the word the is included, this implies there are only and exactly two referees (but if not, it's strongly implied there are more). As a somewhat contrived interpretation, we might suppose that the cited example could validly be used if there were more that two referees, provided only two of them were anonymous. But that wouldn't normally be what was meant - it would only work if the audience knew perfectly well there were other (identified) referees. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Mar 28 '18 at 16:05

Whether you should use "the" in this sentence has nothing to do with anonymity but with the (assumed) number of referees.

The sentence "Two anonymous referees of this journal made great comments" assumes that there are more than two referees, but only two of them made great comments.

The sentence "The two anonymous referees ..." assumes that there are exactly two referees and states that both of them made great comments.

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