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Thread: A or the?

  1. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #1

    A or the?

    My students and I are reading and discussing an adapted version of the novel "The Phantom of the Opera" in class. There was such a phrase:
    1) He had the head of a dead man. (about the ghost's appearance)
    And another one:
    2) She had the voice of an angel. (describing a singer's voice)

    Could you please tell me what difference it would make if I used an indefinite article in both sentences. What is the best way to explain the use of the definite article to my students in these situations?

    Thank you in advance.)

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: A or the?

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    1) He had the head of a dead man. (about the ghost's appearance)
    Most people, dead or alive, have only one head each. You can have 'a dead man's head' but not 'a head of a dead man'.

    2) She had the voice of an angel. (describing a singer's voice)
    Angels, if you believe in them, have only one voice each. He could have 'a voice like an angel's (voice)', but not 'a voice of an angel'.
    5

  3. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: A or the?

    Thank you very much!

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