Let's say someone is saying to somebody:

"Open the folder C:\Documents"

Do we need 'the'-article here?

1 Answer 1



In general use you would need the the ("Open the book Gone with the Wind"; "Watch the film Gone with the Wind"; "Play the overture The Hebrides").

But in the computer world it is common to refer to objects with their classifier or type as a sort of extended name. So "Open the folder C:\Documents" is fine (and conforms with ordinary use) but "Open folder C:\Documents" is also in common use, treating "folder C:\Documents" as a sort of name.

  • 2
    I disagree with this. I work with computers for a living and, while "open folder C:\Documents" would be perfectly understood (as leaving out articles generally is), it sounds strange. If anything, if not "open the folder", it should just be "open C:\Documents".
    – scatter
    Jun 12, 2019 at 18:24
  • I also want to ask about the titles mentioned. Can we say "Open the "Gone with the Wind"", "Have you watched the "Gone with the Wind""?
    – embedc
    Jun 18, 2019 at 6:53
  • @embedc: No. The only time we use the article with proper names is in the (fairly unusual) case where we are qualifying it to distinguish different versions: "Do you mean the 1960 Ocean's Eleven or the 2001 one?"
    – Colin Fine
    Jun 18, 2019 at 17:40

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