Student or Learner
1. Everyone has a right to life.
2. Everyone has the right to life.
In effect, I guess both mean the same. However, I would like to know the subtle difference that might exist between the two. I used to think that only the second example was grammatically correct, because this right to life isn't just any right, but a specified right with a limited scope (right to life). However, I noticed that people generally go with the first example. Can anyone explain the difference? Articles in English are sure a tough nut to crack.
Practically, there is no difference whatsoever. I suppose one could surmise that "the right" refers to Article 3 of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 3, "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person", whereas "a right" is a more general expression. I wouldn't lose any sleep over these nuances.
I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....