The bothering sentence is: “Custom duties fees for the 99 boxes” The document is only about this 99 boxes, no other quantities are mentioned, in other line above this sentence is written “Missing 99 boxes in container”. So no need to highlight this boxes as it is clear we are speaking only about the same boxes. Please advise with rules

  • Can you expand on just what the situation is here? As it stands it is a bit hard to tell the background. Who sent the boxes? Why are they missing? What is the container involved?
    – mdewey
    Aug 30, 2021 at 13:27
  • You write: it is clear we are speaking only about the same boxes. This is precisely why the article is used—to indicate that we are referring to the boxes that were just mentioned. Aug 30, 2021 at 13:42
  • 1
    I will add that articles are seldom about clarity. It's very easy for a native speaker to understand speech or writing from which all the articles have been removed. For the most part, we use them where "the rules" tell us to use them, because not doing so sounds strange to our ears. Aug 30, 2021 at 13:57
  • @Lena Al Could you please ask a clear question? All you've done is describe a situation
    – gotube
    Sep 2, 2021 at 16:16

1 Answer 1


Using the definite article, the writer is speaking about a specific or certain object:

Custom duties fees for the 99 boxes

means reference to a specific collection of 99 boxes that the custom duties apply to, as opposed to

Custom duties fees for 99 boxes

refers to any collection of 99 boxes.

In the second sentence:

Missing 99 boxes in container

The emphasis is that boxes were not in the container and were missing, it could be rephrased:

The 99 boxes were missing from the container

However, to change the used sentence to

Missing the 99 boxes in container

would be a bit awkward.

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