Do we use definite article before colors?

This command gives me all the clickable content in the red color.


1 Answer 1


Only if you have multiple colours that all could be called “red” would you use an article to refer to a colour in that way.

The implication of saying “the red colour” is that you’re referring to a specific red, not one of the other reds. Using “the red colour” is close to saying “that shade of red (not the other shade of red)”.

For your use case, that’s not what you mean, so the addition of the article is wrong. Instead, any of these would work:

  1. This command gives me all the clickable content in red.

  2. This command gives me all the clickable content in the colour red.

  3. This command gives me all the red content.

(1) doesn’t need an article because “red” is already specific enough. There’s no other red it’s competing with for the meaning of the sentence, so no need to say “the red colour”.

(2) works because “the” is attached to “colour” now, and suggests a specific colour is meant… which is immediately specific by “red” right after.

(3) works because red is now being used as an adjective to describe the content the command returns, and the is semantically attached to content, not to red.

However! This is all assuming that your sentence means “the command runs a search that will return a list of all content that is already red”. If your sentence instead means that the command will add red to all clickable content, that’s not the most obvious reading. For that, you would want to write instead:

This command highlights all clickable content in red.


This command highlights in red all clickable content.

(Of course, substitute your preferred colour/color spelling in the examples.)

Articles are complicated. The above only works for the kind of sentence in your example.

For example, there are similar but different cases where leaving the article out becomes wrong, such as when you’re referring to a specific item that has a colour. For example, you can’t say *“I like red one”, you have to say “I like the red one”, since we’re using the article and the colour to specify a particular item now, not to specify a particular colour.

I mention this only as a warning to not overgeneralize the analysis above into an incorrect rule that colours should never have articles. It’s all about what the article is being used to make more specific, not which word the article is adjacent to.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .