For example suppose in describing an application I say

The user clicks on the "Try again" button and then...

Could I say sometimes

The user clicks on the "Try again" and then ..

What this action is called, is there any rule to be considered in such cases?

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    The second phrase isn't a good way to say this, but you could say "The user clicks on "Try again" and then ..". Try again is still an adjective, not a noun, so no the. – user3169 Jul 12 '15 at 0:49
  • @user3169 thank you, actually one of my concerns by saying is there any rule was that "the" – Ahmad Jul 12 '15 at 4:46
  • Well, you don't need "the", but it 's because you dropped "button", which is what "the" referred to! And "Try again" is NOT an adjective in your latter example, for the same reason: with "button" gone, there is no noun to modify; so "try again" does become the noun! – Brian Hitchcock Jul 13 '15 at 10:35

There are two common possibilities here:

(1) You can spell out that it's a button by mentioning it outright, as in your example: click on the "Try Again" button; or

(2) If it's obvious that you're talking about a button, you can just say: click on "Try Again." Also, the verb click makes it obvious that it's something clickable.

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    Note that if you use "try again" without "button", you must render the spelling, capitalization, (and punctuation if any) exactly as they appear on the button, (and even imitate the font; then you can leave off the quote marks.) Better yet, if you can: capture/crop an image of the actual button. Then you won't need to say "button" even on first mention. BTW, you never have to say "on" when describing clicking a button. "Click" takes a direct object. Click X, not Click on X. (Trust me. I'm a technical writer for an IT department.) – Brian Hitchcock Jul 13 '15 at 10:44
  • @BrianHitchcock Thank you for the point, you mean I don't need "The" if it's a clickable object (like button, link), otherwise it needs? – Ahmad Jul 13 '15 at 11:47
  • No, I meant you say "Click the [foo] button" but not "Click the [foo]". It's just "Click [foo]." I didn't say anything about non-clickable objects. But if there is text that is clickable, e.g. a link, I might say "Click on "blah blah blah". – Brian Hitchcock Jul 13 '15 at 11:58

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