My question is concerned with the use of articles "a" and "the". What do you think of the following extract:
"One of the axes has a/the direction that coincides with the northerly direction of a geographical meridian; the second one has a/the direction that coincides with the easterly direction of a parallel".
I'm inclined to "the", but I'm not sure. Articles are quite complicated for learners.
I have one more question from my technical paper about the usage of "the". I've decided not to open a new thread in order not to overload the forum with similar questions. Here is the context:
"Application of CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) has made it possible to significantly reduce processing time and increase the performance (reduce computational costs) in comparison with CPU (Central Processing Unit). Furthermore, increasing the size of data leads to the rise in the difference between processing time on CPU and GPU."
1) The usage of the article before "performance" and "rise" has a lot in common, I think, because the words following the article are used in the general meaning. I would use "the" in both cases.
2) Concerning "the" before "difference" I think we also need the article because we're speaking about a particular difference (between processing time on CPU and GPU)
There is already a 'performance' regardless of any application of CUDA. However, there is no 'rise' without increasing the size of data.
So, a rise occurs where there was no rise before; but the performance increases from a performance that was already there and identified.
If a 'rise' had already been identified, and you were looking for the cause, it would be more common to write, "The rise in the difference ... is caused by an/the increase in the size of the data." Here, the article before 'increase' depends in whether the/an increase in the size of data has already been identified as being a factor. If your readers are likely to ask "What rise? What increase?", then it's a sign that you should consider using 'a'.
Last edited by Raymott; 07-Feb-2014 at 02:18.
One more sentence where "the" or zero article is needed:
"New mathematical tools need to be developed for estimating (the) magnetic field conditions."
I have doubts about choosing "the" or zero article because, on the one hand, I'm speaking about these conditions in general, but on the other hand, in the next sentence (it's not given here) I'm defining these conditions. My opinion is that we don't need "the" here.
What do you think?