[Grammar] "a big house" or "the big house" Which is the correct one?

aspirant90

New member
Joined
Aug 1, 2017
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Malayalam
Home Country
India
Current Location
India
Recently I saw a question to use the correct article .
Which is the correct usage:

1) We live in a big house with a white door

or

2) We live in the big house with a white door

The question didn't provide any extra context . It is just a simple sentence. which is the right answer?
 

GoesStation

No Longer With Us
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I'd say they're both correct as written. There are three big houses over there; I live in the one with a (or the, with no change in meaning) white door.
 

Lynxear

Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2007
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
Canada
You should also be aware that "the big house" is also an idiom for "prison".
 

Rover_KE

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
Without further context, only #1 is correct as a simple statement of fact (though a full stop is missing at the end).

#2 needs extra context - as illustrated above and below.

***

I've just noticed that this is your first post, aspirant90. Welcome to the forum.

You also asked this question here.

We recommend posting a question on one forum only initially. If you do not get a satisfactory answer from that forum and you feel that you have exhausted its possibilities, then of course trying a different forum might help. It is only courteous however, to tell the second forum that you have already asked the question on another forum and then give a precis of the answers you received there, or provide a link to it, along with an explanation of why you are now looking elsewhere.

(emsr2d2)
 
Last edited:

aspirant90

New member
Joined
Aug 1, 2017
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Malayalam
Home Country
India
Current Location
India
Please explain the meaning of how these two sentences are differed. The question is We live in __ big house with a white door. Which article should I use?
 

aspirant90

New member
Joined
Aug 1, 2017
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Malayalam
Home Country
India
Current Location
India
Sir, We are using british english. Kindly explain which article is most suitable here: a or the ?
 

GoesStation

No Longer With Us
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Please explain the meaning of how these two sentences are different [strike]d[/strike]. The question is We live in __ big house with a white door. Which article should I use?
Use the indefinite article if you're telling someone what kind of house you live in. Use the definite article if you're telling someone which house you live in (among a number of houses with different color doors).
 

GoesStation

No Longer With Us
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
No. You use the article that's appropriate for what you want to say. What kind of house do you live in? A big one with a white door. Which one is it? The big one with a white door.
 

andrewg927

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
If it is a stand-alone sentence, use "a". "The" would make more sense with additional information.
 

Lynxear

Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2007
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
Canada
Recently I saw a question to use the correct article .
Which is the correct usage:

1) We live in a big house with a white door

or

2) We live in the big house with a white door

The question didn't provide any extra context . It is just a simple sentence. which is the right answer?

Both are correct. It is not a matter what variant of English you use; the answer would be the same. I venture to say that Punjabi English would have no issues here!

1) We live in a big house with a white door

You are just describing the look of your house to someone. There are probably several houses in the area matching that description. So the description is not unique to your house so you use an indefinite article "a" in this case

2) We live in the big house with a white door

In this case your house is unique in the neighbourhood. There may be big houses and there may be houses with white doors. However, ONLY your house is big as well as having a white door. Therefore, you use the definite article "the" when describing your house as being the one which is big and has a white door.
 

Rover_KE

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
If it is a stand-alone sentence, use "a". "The" would make more sense with additional information.
Agreed.

I made the same point way back in post #5.
 

aspirant90

New member
Joined
Aug 1, 2017
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Malayalam
Home Country
India
Current Location
India
I already mentioned there is no context here. This is a single sentence.Are you saying that we can use the without any further context here?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Rover_KE

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
No, we can't.

To repeat: as it's a test question with no context, they expect you to give #1 as the right answer.
 

emsr2d2

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
[STRIKE]Sir,[/STRIKE] Please don't refer to users here as "Sir". Not only is it overly formal but it also suggests that you think we are all male. We are not.

We are using British English. Kindly explain which article is most suitable here: a or the?

Note my corrections and comments above.
 

Roman55

Key Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2014
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Italy
Current Location
France
It seems clear that the correct answer is #1. It doesn't matter what the noun is, it's just a question about the use of definite or indefinite articles.


I have to say, after reading this whole thread I like #2 less and less. Even with context, surely one would say, "the big house with the white door."
 
Top