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In this answer to a physics question, the responder said,

"The current J in a material is a combination of conduction current and displacement current".

Is it permissible to drop the in the above case? shouldn't it be:

The current J in a material is a combination of the conduction current and the displacement current.

or even:

The current J in a material is a combination of conduction currents and displacement currents.

?

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Writers sometimes struggle with the choice to include an article or to leave it out altogether. Keep in mind that if the noun is singular, countable, and nonspecific or generic (e.g., book, author), the articles a and an may be used. However, if the noun is countable and plural (e.g.., research studies) or uncountable (e.g., information) and it is being used in a nonspecific or generic way, no article is used. [1]

The following statement of yours;

"The current J in a material is a combination of conduction current and displacement current".

is a generic one where current, which is an uncountable noun, is used as a general concept both the times.

Therefore, no article should be used before them.

  • "conduction current" and "displacement current". are specific concepts and can have separate numerical measures. Use of the definite article, while not required, is proper and i think better writing. – David Siegel Jul 3 at 13:41

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