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Use of 'a' and 'the'

Discussion in 'English' started by bgy1mm, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. "The lesser spotted partingale is a migratory bird which can commonly be seen visting British marshes in late October".
    It's also slightly offensive when used of people. "The" was declared a racist word in America recently, when a candidate declared "I get on very well with the blacks".

  2. Because the sentence goes with a picture I would be inclined to use 'the' since you are referring to a specific cat - the one in the picture. The example given above is also correct when referring to the whole species. There is nothing grammatically incorrect about your sentence though.
  3. Both "The cat" and "A cat" are correct in this context. If it were cat-hat then "The cat is wearing a hat" would be correct as only that particular cat is wearing one. Both the specific cat and cats in general are animals.
  4. Thank you, everyone.

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