I don't understand the way articles are presented in this case. Could you please tell me why there is "the" before the first "feedstock", and no article before the second one? (I cant provide the full text unfortunately.)

That may be present in the feedstock, _ feedstock for the production of..., and intermediate products... .

It is the first and the last time "feedstock" is appeared in the text. This is a paragraph about microorganisms at the production. The text is a guidance for pharmaceutical production.

Thank you so much for the answers!!!

  • 3
    This would be easier to answer with more context. As always, please provide a link to the source, or if not possible, more background information. Is there some particular "feedstock" already mentioned in the text, or should something specific be understood in this technical context?
    – TypeIA
    Mar 27, 2021 at 15:33
  • 1
    I think that idiomatically there's stronger pressure to attach the definite article to the production [of whatever]. And once you've done that, it seems a bit "clumsy" to also put one before preceding feedstock. Don't pay too much attention to the idea that feedstock was never mentioned before - in context, we know we're talking about the specific feedstock used for the identified production process, so on that front it's fine to include "the". But because of the identified "excessive repetition", maybe it's not so good. Basically though, it's a stylistic choice. Mar 27, 2021 at 16:19
  • Can you provide the complete quote. Can you tell us the source of the quote, and ideally link to the source?
    – James K
    Mar 27, 2021 at 16:49

1 Answer 1


Good question (because I don't really know the answer!)

This is a very common form of words, so it's perhaps a distraction for us to look too much to this particular quote. Here are some (made up) examples of the same kind of thing:

One of the biggest problems in Australia is the rabbits, rabbits that are not indigenous to the country.

All was quiet until the soldiers came, soldiers who had run away from the front and who were hungry, afraid, and desperate.

The core of stackexchange is the questions, questions that confuse, intrigue, and beguile those who take the time to read them.

I think the use of the definite article for the first instance of the object in question -- rabbits, soldiers, questions -- is fairly standard. In each case we have a specific plural noun. There is only one relevant set of rabbits, soldiers, or questions (in each case, all of them). I'm not sure as to the reason the article is omitted for the second instance, but my guess is that we are no longer denoting a particular (plural) object, but rather are merely providing additional information about the already-denoted object (as opposed to providing extra info to allow us to distinguish from several possible objects).

That effect can be seen if we see the sentences as having a silent "which are" or "being" just before the second mention of the object.

Sigh; that's the best I have. But I'd wait for a better answer if I were you.

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