How should I choose "the" or "a" when I use the expression "in the/a state of"?
Can I say either "Keep these parts in a dired state" or "Keep these parts in the dried state"?
Similarly, can I say either "The patient is in a vegetable state" or "The patient is in the vegetable state"?
In both cases I would use a, though the first would sound more natural if you just said keep these parts dry. Also, with the patient, I would say [persistent] vegetative state- calling someone a vegetable is slang.