When the article the is implied

Question from Adam in Taiwan:

Instructions for an English assessment read:

Student is asked to read the sentence.

Some teachers feel that there must be a ‘the’ before student. I feel that the ‘the’ is implied and isn’t necessary. I would like to know how others feel.

Thank you,


Hi Adam!

You’re right about the article ‘the’ being implied in this case. Often instructions, notices, or orders omit the article. Some typical examples from a recipe (a set of cooking instructions) would be:

  • Add water to pan and bring to boil.
  • Place tea in pot and pour hot water over tea leaves.
  • Pour tea into cup, add milk and sugar as required.

We leave out, for the sake of clarity and brevity the articles:

  • Add the water to the pan and bring to boil.
  • Place the tea in the pot and pour hot water over the tea leaves.
  • Pour the tea into a cup, add the milk and the sugar as required.

In your example – instructions from an assessment – it may go on with similar sentences:

  • student reads sentence
  • students answer all questions
  • when completed, student submits assessment

Hope that helps, Adam.

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