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In the sentence:

"Please find attached the document containing the list of items."

Is the usage of "the" after "attached" forbidden by some rule of the English language?

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Your sentence is perfectly fine.

The following is also correct:

Please find the attached the document containing the list of items.

There is not such rule, as you mention it. But there are rules about when and how to use the definite article ("the").

  • I thought so. However I had a difference of opinion with my colleague and that's why I asked. Thanks a lot for answering. Btw are you a native English speaker? – Vishal Sharma Mar 7 at 11:02
  • Not native, but very experienced. – virolino Mar 7 at 11:04
  • Is 'attached' a verb or an adjective here? – Vishal Sharma Mar 7 at 11:10
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    As explained here (merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adjective), an adjective modifies a noun. In your example, "attached" modifies "find", which is a verb. Therefore it has to be either an adverb or another verb - and my assumption is that it is a past participle, since it is not defined as an adverb: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/attached. – virolino Mar 7 at 11:24
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    those are very special constructs, they do not follow standard grammar rules.By that, I mean that they change the standard order of the words into something else. I am not aware of a way to do something similar with "the". – virolino Mar 7 at 11:50
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"Please find attached" is basically a set phrase now in English. It can be analysed for parts of speech, certainly, but it is not thought of in such terms by native speakers. I'm not even sure of its origins, but you might think of it as a contraction of:

Please find, attached to this email (or letter), ...

Thus any appropriate noun phrase can follow it - with an article or not.

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