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  3.2 Indefinite articles

The definite article is the exact contrary of the indefinite article. Whereas the definite article is used to attribute a certain characteristic to an element of a group, the indefinite article is used to describe a possibility.

Example
  a) The man, who drinks too much, will contract cirrhosis of the liver.
b) A man, who drinks too much, will contract cirrhosis of the liver.

In the case of a) we have a concrete, well-known man, who drinks too much and who will contract therefore a cirrhosis of the liver. In this case, we don't have a theoretical possibility, but a fact. In the case b) we have a theoretical possibility, but not a fact. If, and only if, he drinks too much, he will contract cirrhosis of the liver. In general, the indefinite article underlines the arbitrariness, the definite article points to a well-defined element of a group of similar elements.






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