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I have a sentence like the following:

From the 400 websites, we exclude the websites that exist in the top websites list

Is using the before the first mention of websites correct? I can not decide whether this is a specific or general, and hence I am unable to decide whther to use the or not.

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    If you mentioned a particular set of 400 websites before this sentence, then "the" indicates the reference and is obligatory. This sentence seems a little confusing with its mention of "the top websites list" - some more context might be helpful here. – Mixolydian Feb 26 at 19:05
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If you are referring to a specific set of 400 websites - for instance, if you've already talked about how they were found/selected - then you need a definite article. If you're referring to an as-yet unspecified set of 400 websites, then no article. Though given the context I would expect you to have a specific set of websites.

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