Can I omit the article here? If yes, why? If no, why? Some translation software suggests me to.

A specific principle for the material supply of small batch manufacturing areas

I think I can't omit because it is a singular common noun.

Someone pointed out that "specific principle" also needs an article (which is correct, thank you) and asked for context. The context is the title of a scientific paper.

  • 2
    What is the context? With proper grammatical structure, "specific principle" also needs an article because it is a singular common noun. But if this is abbreviated text, such as in business documents like invoices, articles are sometimes omitted.
    – Astralbee
    Dec 14, 2021 at 9:49
  • Titles are sometimes abbreviated too. I am not sure what Lines is doing at the end though.
    – mdewey
    Dec 14, 2021 at 13:42
  • @mdewey Well, the question is: should they? I remove "lines" (I changed my title a little before posting it and this was a fragment). Dec 14, 2021 at 14:04
  • What does "material supply" mean here? Is it domain-specific jargon for the supply of raw materials to a manufacturing process? This makes a difference, because whether or not to precede a noun by the definite article will often be affected by how well-known the noun [phrase] is. Dec 14, 2021 at 14:39
  • 1
    To my mind, if and only if the whole noun phrase "material supply of small batch manufacturing areas" is a "known collocation" within the industry is it appropriate to discard the article. That's to say - if it's "jargon", it probably doesn't require an article in your context. But domain-specific jargon usages aren't really suitable for ELL - in "normal English", you'd be talking about something more like the supply of [raw] materials to manufacturing processes with small batch production runs. Dec 14, 2021 at 15:29

1 Answer 1


Does the question "which material supply?" make sense in this conversation or text?

Or ...

Can you ask the question "which X" and "material supply" be a possible answer to it, for this conversation or text? E.g. is it possible there's other values of X for "the X of small manufacturing areas" that the listener/reader might be concerned with?

If not, omit it. If it does, keep it.

  • Do you mean like x = "product flow" --> the "product flow" of small manufacturing areas? This sentence makes sense. But I actually think I misunderstand you. Can you provide a link, maybe? Dec 15, 2021 at 9:34
  • No link, the above is all from me. What don't you understand? Plug in "product flow" above and it still applies.
    – LawrenceC
    Dec 15, 2021 at 16:27
  • Is your point that we don't need an article if something is unique, e.g., Africa? Dec 16, 2021 at 13:46
  • "Africa" is a proper noun (name of a country) and those don't take articles.
    – LawrenceC
    Dec 16, 2021 at 16:17
  • Africa is unique and thus is a proper noun. Dec 17, 2021 at 12:51

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