I asked a question based on a book.

section of book "Machine Learning - A Probabilistic Perspective"

in this case, should I say "section of book... " or "section of the book ..."?

2 Answers 2


You would not say:

…section of book Machine Learning

At very least, it would have to be:

…section of the book Machine Learning…

But in this specific context, where you are citing a publication, you could also simply have:

…section of Machine Learning…

In fact this last form is perhaps the most common, and it’s certainly how I would write it.

  • I’m sure I said the same thing at one point. I got the back of her hand, and the edge of her tongue for being cheeky. 🙂
    – tkp
    Jul 29, 2019 at 13:42
  • Although the mighty APA appears to agree with Mrs. Smith: blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2015/07/… And now I think about it, her rule was not a comma before all quotes, but a comma before quoted direct speech.
    – tkp
    Jul 29, 2019 at 13:46
  • @jonathanjo, I don’t mind if it goes. Feel free. (But just know that if, as a result, Mrs. Smith comes back to haunt me for not explaining my lack of commas earlier in my reply, then I’ll refer her to you! 😀)
    – tkp
    Jul 29, 2019 at 13:51
  • @tkp ; I was taught you place a comma where you would pause if you were talking. So, yes the comma is correct. At least the way I talk, it's correct
    – Brad
    Jul 29, 2019 at 13:54
  • @jonathanjo, right but it at least acts to soften your earlier, “everything I’ve ever seen”, no? 😉 Anyway, taking your comment about italicization of titles, I’ve modified the examples, rendering the P.S. redundant. Of course future readers will have no clue what you and I are talking about down here in the comments, but I think they’ll survive.
    – tkp
    Jul 29, 2019 at 14:01

You should use the book as it is a specific book and not any old book.

the definite article (PARTICULAR) used before a noun to refer to a particular thing because it is clear which thing is intended:Link to C.E.D.

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