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Ray went to visit his friend who lives in the next street, he went through an alley beside his place. ... Pretty soon, he came upon trash bins beside a building wall ...

Should we use an or the? for second article (a), can we use the?

Notes: we don't know if he as more than one alley beside his place.

Is the above sentence correct?

  • What makes you think that the would be valid? – JavaLatte Feb 20 '17 at 23:51
  • I think, he will go through (the) alley (which is beside his house)... – Shannak Feb 21 '17 at 4:03
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In general terms, you'd use an in the event you were talking about any alley, and the if you were talking about a specific alley. It's the same with the second sentence.

In the first part, as we are not completely sure how many alleys surround this person's building (could be one each side), it would be more correct to use an, unless you plan for there to only be one alley next to the building.

In the second part, as we are still talking fairly vaguely (an alley is usually flanked by two walls, one for each building) a would be correct, unless you intend to only be talking about the known building.

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