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I always wondered when I can omit articles in sentences. Like, I think I saw many cases in presentations or instructions where some articles are omitted. I noticed today that the status message in Google docs seems like omitting an article "the" too. Shouldn't it be "The last edit was 2 hours ago?" When can I omit articles without coming off awkward?

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    Articles are often omitted in notes such as this one, where brevity is more important than formal grammar; also in newspaper headlines and, as you say, in lists of instructions. Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 9:19

1 Answer 1


I guess this is just for the sake of brevity. I am not a native speaker, so I would not even notice the issue at first glance. Remember, Google Docs and relevant applications are used across the world. It means the target users vary in the English language proficiency.

I am sure it follows the major principles of the UI/UX design applicable for such a use-case:

  • Information availability
  • Brevity and clarity

When can I omit articles without coming off awkward?

I would not be afraid to omit the articles on pop-ups, information or warning alerts, messages and headlines exactly like this without sounding awkward. On the other hand, my answer would look weird without articles, right? (And I really don't know if I have (not) used them correctly).

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