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Non-specific reference

Non-specific reference means you are referring to any one of many possible items, or are introducing a noun for the first time in the text.

  • Countable nouns can have a (single) or some (plural).
  • Uncountable nouns have some or no article.
  • However in scientific writing 'some' is rarely used.

Non-specific reference

Table for non-specific reference

Article Noun
Singular a computer
Plural - computers
- information

  • Most offices have a computer
  • There are computers in the library.
  • I need information about student services.

Non specific reference is often the natural choice when describing a design, process or experimental procedure.

Example from a lab report

A small piece of Sample B was placed in an ignition tube with one gram of clean sodium and heated.
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