# How to use of “the” before known matrices [closed]

I am writing a paper and want to use Vandermonde matrices in its abstract.

I am confused which of the following sentences are correct?

A) One of the important matrices in coding theory is the Vandermonde matrix.

B) One of the important matrices in coding theory is Vandermonde matrix.

C) One of the important matrices in coding theory is Vandermonde matrices.

Thanks for any suggestions.

## closed as off-topic by anomaly, Song, dantopa, Parcly Taxel, CesareoMar 16 at 9:05

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• An important matrix in coding theory is the Vandermonde matrix. – twnly Mar 15 at 23:36
• @twnly My advisory told me "the Vandermonde matrix" is incorrect, since it is written as if there existed only one Vandermonde matrix. Is it right? – user0410 Mar 15 at 23:40
• @Servaes Unfortunately, based on the given answers, your comment is correct. But the story is this I am a student and he is a professor :) – user0410 Mar 16 at 0:34
• That is an unfortunate situation with which I can sympathise, but not help. – Servaes Mar 16 at 0:36

I would choose a different option. Since there is not a unique Vandermonde matrix, I would say something like

One of the most important kinds/types/families/etc. of matrices in coding theory are the Vandermonde matrices.

If you want to consider them as essentially the same then I'll choose A), but I'm not an expert in coding theory so I'm not sure that wording would sound okay to the people who will read your paper.

Edit: just to let you know, B) is incorrect since you must write "the" in this context, and C) is incorrect because you're using "is" for a plural subject.

• I have two questions. First, my advisory told me "the Vandermonde matrix" is incorrect, since it is written as if there existed only one Vandermonde matrix. Is it correct?. Second, you wrote "One of the most important ... are..." . I think the verb should be "is" not "are". Am I right? – user0410 Mar 15 at 23:45
• The Vandermonde matrices are a family. It is incorrect so say "the Vandermonde matrices is a family" because the subject is "the Vandermonde matrices" not "family". In the sentece they're written in opposite order, but the syntax is the same. – Javi Mar 15 at 23:47
• Not all papers are perfectly grammatically correct. And sometimes there are those kinds of conventions. The important thing is to be understood, so you can first ask your colleagues if something sounds weird or not to them. – Javi Mar 15 at 23:58
• I have a question. Maybe it was a simple question, but I would like to ask it. Why did you use "the" before Vandermonde matrices. Thanks in advance. – user0410 Mar 16 at 0:06
• If you don't use "the" there is a nuance in the meaning. Without "the" it sounds like some important matrices happen to be Vandermonde matrices, rather than saying that that specific kind of matrices (Vandermonde matrices) are important. – Javi Mar 16 at 0:08

B and C are grammatically incorrect: in B there should be an article before "Vandermonde" and in C, there should be agreement in number. As Javi comments, A is wrong on mathematical grounds: there is a whole family of Vandermonde matrices.

• Thanks for your useful answer. – user0410 Mar 16 at 0:11

If the sense of the following is right for your exposition then active voice wins over passive voice.

Vandermonde matrices are important in coding theory.

This sentence puts "Vandermonde" first rather than penultimate: It does not mean exacty the same thing as your drafts, but it may suffice.

I'd write:

Some of the important matrices in coding theory are Vandermonde matrices.

• I like your answer. It is a clear and simple sentence. Thanks – user0410 Mar 16 at 0:22