In our hyperactive world, the articles that we put in front of nouns may not seem to matter much. We’re concerned with the BIG things! So the difference between a one letter and three letter words doesn’t amount to much. That might be accurate in the majority of cases. However there are definitely times that A little thing can make all THE difference!
There are definitely times in our lives where we need a pen, an eraser, a word of encouragement or a little help. These indefinite articles that proceed the words tell the tale of intention. They are “indefinite”! There’s no thought put behind them. Any pen will do! The encouragement doesn’t need to be life changing! Just encouraging. Whatever it is, it’s good enough to do the job.
Definite articles on the other hand require more scrutiny and intent. Not just any pen will do! I want THE pen. There is a difference between the one that I want and all of the other pens in the world. Perhaps it’s the color, style, grip, cost, proximity or any other number of criteria. Regardless, there’s a separating factor or factors that make THE important!
Your job in this moment of so many choices is discerning when THE matters. I’ll admit it! In most situations, A/An is completely fine. The difference is not life altering. However there are times when settling for A/An is going to be something that you regret. A life partner, a job, a college, and so many other big A/AN’s are signing up for a world of hurt and disappointment. For sure, it’s possible to stumble into THE thing that you’ve always wanted when looking for just anything. However it’s probably good to have an idea of what you’re looking for! So that you know when you’ve found it!
Aim for the target, not a target!