1

Do I need the definite article before "purchase order". What is the rule?

I`ve got some questions about purchase order No. 1234.

1

No you don't.

It's correct to omit the definite article when we specify an item or place:

The car is parked outside Apartment 6
Please check the contents of package number 10
You are seated in row 5

The guideline is:

Use the indefinite article before the first mention:

I saw A dog outside A house in THE town

Both the dog and the house are unspecified. The town is understood.

I think I saw THE dog outside THE same house.

The speaker now refers back to the dog and the house already mentioned.

In your example:

There is A purchase order on the desk
Is it THE purchase order from the plumber, No 1357
No, it's purchase order No 1234 from the electrician.

Note, however, that these are merely guide examples and that the use of articles is full of traps for the unwary.

http://www.butte.edu/departments/cas/tipsheets/grammar/articles.html
https://www.talkenglish.com/grammar/articles.aspx

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