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I'm writing the commentary to a programming code / instruction which should give the reader an idea of what is happening at the corresponding step and can't understand if it's an abstract or concrete object I'm commenting about. The code goes like this:

Instruction:

If this website is of type A then send the appropriate message to the website's owner

Abstract commentary:

Send a message to a type A's website owner

Concrete commentary:

Send the message to the type A's website owner

Which one is more appropriate for a code commentary and what is the difference perceived by a reader between these commentary alternatives?

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  • It seems a request of proofreading, is it?
    – WXJ96163
    Apr 8, 2020 at 15:28

2 Answers 2

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It would be more appropriate to choose "the". You can actually see this in your own introductory text:

If this website is of type A then send the appropriate message to the website's owner

You check to see if each website is a type A website, but if it is, you send the message this specific website's owner. So the "concrete commentary" option makes more sense.

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  • Thank you for an explanation, agreed!
    – Programmer
    Apr 8, 2020 at 14:20
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If this website is of type A then send the appropriate message to the website's owner.

The website was already in context before you used "this website" so the next mention of "website" needs to use "the" to refer back to the same one.

In your summary it would be better to change the possessive phrase from "type A's" to "type A website's":

Send a message to a type A website's owner.

The choice of article depends whether this sentence follows from the previous one or is in its own context.

Same context:

If this website is of type A then send the appropriate message to the website's owner.

  • Send a message to the type A website's owner.

Introducing a new context (the first sentence is not present, e.g. in a different document):

Send a message to a type A website's owner.

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