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"The roar of a lion can reach 114 decibels at a distance of 1 metre, and can be heard from 8 kilometers (5 miles) away."

Why do we need the definite article here instead of the indefinite counterpart "a" in this sentence?

As a matter of fact, a lion can roar countless times during its lifetime so there can be more than just one roar.

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2 Answers 2

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Because it is not just "a roar" (which means something like "any roar") but a specific roar - that of a lion, as opposed to the roar of a leopard, bear, a red deer, etc.

Reference: Indefinite vs Definite Articles

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The scientific facts or established characters of in/animated objects would take the definite article. Why? Because they are the facts. True that a lion roars countless times but we are talking about 'the roaring' in general, as a personal character.

This may go true for all the facts. Say "The voice of a woman is thinner as compared to a man;" "The shape of a pizza is round." And, so on!

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  • In this context, the roar of a lion = the ability to roar of a lion ?
    – cpp_noname
    Sep 7, 2017 at 5:17
  • @cpp_noname no... the 'natural roaring.' By calling it 'ability' you indirectly mean their efforts. I am talking about the natural feature/characteristic of lion. The computing speed of a computer is very fast! That way...
    – Maulik V
    Sep 7, 2017 at 5:30
  • The voice of a woman is thinner than that of a man? Thinner? Sep 8, 2017 at 3:36
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    @Clare what's wrong in 'thinner?'
    – Maulik V
    Sep 8, 2017 at 5:03
  • Why was this answer down-voted?
    – cpp_noname
    Sep 8, 2017 at 6:07

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