Imagine there's a document describing some aspects of a pharmaceutical substance. Some basic composition information is provided, and the paragraph ends with

The detailed information on the substance is presented in Section 3.

Should there be "the", or could it be omitted:

Detailed information on the substance is presented in Section 3.

It's a specific set of detailed information. On the other hand, the mention might be new to the reader, so it might be okay without an article.

I know that one can get around this by using "For detailed information on the substance, see Section 3", but I'm curious.

  • 1
    I would consider information a group of informational details. Therefore, no article.
    – user3169
    Jul 30, 2016 at 3:44
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    There is no need for the definite article unless there is some compelling reason to refer to refer back to "detailed information" already mentioned above. "The following is merely a quick overview. The detailed information you were promised in the Introduction is set forth in section 3." Jul 30, 2016 at 13:40

1 Answer 1


There are plenty of situations when you would use the with information:

I need the information tomorrow.
The information that I about to give you is confidential.
Thanks for the information on work permits.

The theme is that both speaker and listener understand exactly what the set of information is, even if one of both of them doesn't know the detailed information.

If the writer can assume that the reader knows what kind and/or scope of information there is in section 3, it is necessary to use the definite article.

This might be the case if

  • it is stated earlier in the document what information is available
  • it is understood from the context what information is available
  • the information is a standard set, for example those required by health and safety regulations
  • the document is a report on a specific piece of research, and all of the relevant results of that research are in section 3.

If, however, the writer cannot assume that the reader is aware of the kind or scope of information, the definite article should be omitted.

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