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According to my GMAT grammar book, it is incorrect to say "A chair is a useful piece of furniture." Instead, it says to use a definite article like so: "The chair is a useful piece of furniture." Why is that?

  • "A chair is a useful piece of furniture" seems fine to me. But it seems a bit more specific (in a hypothetical way, if that makes sense--like saying "It is useful (for one) to have a chair" rather than "The existence of chairs is useful"). Does the GMAT book give any more explanation? – sumelic Sep 14 '17 at 3:13
  • Wikipedia, on chair, begins with "A chair is a piece of furniture [...]", and that sounds just fine. At Princeton Review, you'd learn that it has to be "The chair" because you're declaring it "useful"; otherwise you're saying any chair is useful. That's GMAT English. – wordsalad Sep 14 '17 at 3:39
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    Neither "A chair" nor "The chair" is incorrect in that sentence. If your "GMAT grammar book" said that one of them is incorrect then that statement itself is incorrect. – Drew Sep 14 '17 at 4:36
  • @Drew GMAT has its own logic when it comes to choosing which one is correct, and using the logic like that is a useful tactic in taking GMAT, even though we reason differently in real life. – wordsalad Sep 14 '17 at 5:06
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the sentence itself lacks context and the OP's question lacks sufficient detail. – Mari-Lou A Sep 14 '17 at 12:25

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