I am writing an article. The main heading of it is this "Create a demo file on deployer host via GitLab CI"

The problem is that I am not sure which article should I use before the "demo file": "a" demo file or "the" demo file?

The demo file could be any text file. It doesn't matter which name and which content. It is only to confirm that the change in its content has changed or not. So it is not specific. So the 'a' article should be used. But on the other hand, the demo file must be on the certain host in the certain folder so it is being specific somehow so the article should be "the".

I explain used words that are connected to the server and network domain:

Gitlab CI - web service

deployer - a name of the host

host - server from the network point of view

The second question: "Do it by ssh-agent". Ssh-agent is known way of transmitting the encrypting key. I am using it the first time in the article. So ssh-agent or the ssh-agent or an ssh-agent?

  • 1
    I am not a techie. But in general articles are often omitted from titles. How about: Creating demo files on deployer hosts via Gitlab CI ...or...To create demo file on deployer host via Gitlab CI...? Not sure about ssh-agent. Oct 11, 2018 at 15:03
  • What @RonaldSole said. But why are you so concerned about a possible article before demo file when you don't have one before deployer host or GitLab CI ? Oct 11, 2018 at 15:18
  • @RonaldSole your example isn't omitting the article, it's just generalizing it to the plural case. If OP wants to focus on a particular file then the article is required even in the title.
    – Andrew
    Oct 11, 2018 at 15:20
  • True. But as a general description of the process for a title I think the plural serves the purpose by avoiding the issue, whether or not a single file is concerned. Oct 11, 2018 at 15:36
  • The fact this is technical is actually irrelevant.
    – Lambie
    Oct 11, 2018 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


The definite article "the" is used to describe either something you've mentioned before, or something which is already known to the reader. However, since you are talking about the title, then this is the first mention of this kind of file. Also, as you explain, there is nothing special or unique about the demo file that the reader would recognize. So the indefinite article "a" is more appropriate.

Creating a Demo File on a Deployer Host.

(Note I use the gerund creating not the verb create. For articles, it's more idiomatic to phrase titles as descriptions of what you explain how to do. For instruction manuals, it's more idiomatic to phrase titles as actions which the user can perform)

An example of using the definite article in a title:

Using the Euclidean Shortest Path Problem to Define Routes for Self-Driving Vehicles

Not all algorithms will take the definite article though, particularly if there are many possible implementations. For example, I would likely talk about a bubble sort algorithm if it's my own implementation in a specific language, but the bubble sort algorithm when talking about it in general.

Similar answer for "ssh-agent". Since it's a common technique, with nothing special about your implementation, there is no reason to use the definite article.

Posting a file to a secure server using an ssh-agent.

That being said, it could be interpreted as the name of some particular software, in which case you don't need any article:

Posting a file to a secure server using SSH-Agent.

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