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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
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      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Sep 2010
    • Posts: 17

    difference between "there is a possibility of" and "there is the possibility of"?

    What is the difference between

    "There is a possibility of ______"


    "There is the possibility of _______"

    Even though I am not a native speaker and I can often times feel, or rather
    my intuition tells me what they should mean, but in this case I don't really
    feel any difference between the two. Could the second sentence be used
    because "the possibility" has happened before? Or should the definite article
    be used all the time because that possibility, whatever it is, is already unique
    in a way that it describes the possibility of a certain event?
    If I want to say "there is a/the possibility of a thunderstorm 10 miles off the coast of Seattle"

    would the indefinite article suit me better or the definite?

    Thank you in advance and sorry for my horrible and vague sentence structures. Rereading it, even I can't really make out what I am trying to
    convey. But basically, I want to know how native speakers feel when they
    hear those sentences

  1. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,092

    Re: difference between "there is a possibility of" and "there is the possibility of"?

    I don't think there's much in it.
    I'd use 'the' if the possibility has already been mentioned. If you heard on the news that there was a possibility of a thunderstorm, and your friend said, Let's go boating on the harbour", you could say, "But remember the possibility of a thunderstorm."
    I'd generally use 'a' as a default.

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