"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.


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


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!

  • In this context, the roar of a lion = the ability to roar of a lion ? – cpp_noname Sep 7 '17 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 '17 at 5:30
  • The voice of a woman is thinner than that of a man? Thinner? – green_ideas Sep 8 '17 at 3:36
  • 1
    @Clare what's wrong in 'thinner?' – Maulik V Sep 8 '17 at 5:03
  • Why was this answer down-voted? – cpp_noname Sep 8 '17 at 6:07

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