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,
Adam

Answer:

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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