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  1. HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
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      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Apr 2005
    • Posts: 449
    #1

    Definite and indefinite articles in real life

    Hi,

    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.

    Thank you.

  2. Grumpy's Avatar
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    • Join Date: Aug 2009
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    #2

    Re: Definite and indefinite articles in real life

    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....

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