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I have this sentence:

I changed [the?] command doc('t.xq') in front of [the?] variables $p and $q with [the?] variable $db as follows. Now it works (plus, I used [the?] function last() to have the last (lowest) common ancestor).

Is my usage of "The" in brackets, before specific names correct?

Is it a mandatory rule? Could they be said with or without "the"? What would be the difference?

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    I think if I read it either with or without the sentence would be absolutely fine. In the first case doc('t.xq') should be after "command" though. Jun 15 '15 at 7:28
  • @writingthesis you say I always can say them with or without "the"?
    – Ahmad
    Jun 15 '15 at 8:02
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I agree you can use "the", or leave it out. You don't have to be consistent and always use "the", or never use it. As a native British English speaker I would probably write

I changed the command doc('t.xq') in front of variables $p and $q with the variable $db as follows. Now it works (plus, I used function last() to have the last (lowest) common ancestor).

but I can't explain why that "sounds right" to me, sorry!

Often in this type of writing, the reader already knows that variables must always start with $ and function calls are always followed by (...), etc. So you can use the variable and function names as "proper names" (like the names of people, cities, etc) which are never preceded by "the". For example

I changed [the] command doc('t.xq') in front of $p and $q with $db as follows. Now it works (plus, I used last() to have the last (lowest) common ancestor).

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  • The Hague......... :)
    – user6951
    Jun 15 '15 at 16:10
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Yes, they all are correct. We use the definite article while talking about the 'definite' things. That's why it's definite.

In your sentence, you are talking about the definite command, variables, functions etc. So, yes, putting 'the' is not incorrect.

We say - open a document in your computer to refer to 'any document'. But we say, 'open the document we had modified last' would specifically point to the specific document modified. This goes with all instances in your example.

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  • Thank you, I also add another question to my post, please consider that too.
    – Ahmad
    Jun 15 '15 at 7:30
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I generally agree with Maulik V's answer.

However, I would like to add one thing.

You use the to define one particular variable (class/field/etc..).

There is no better way to answer "which variable?" than to give its exact name, so to me the variable 'p' is even too much.

Examples:

Study Unit 5 for next week

Turn to Page 394

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