He and I share a/the same book.

The book hasn't been mentioned before. So which one is used with "same", "a" or "the"?

Because the book hasn't been mentioned before, I want to use "a".

Because I remember that "same" is always used with "the" in front, I have to use "the".

  • It's more like once you thought of that book both of you share together, you've already been specific about which book you've thought of. And, because it's specific, you will want to use "the". Dec 19, 2013 at 7:39
  • 2
    Can "a" be used in front of "same"?
    – Tim
    Dec 19, 2013 at 7:40
  • 1
    I think it's possible but in a very rare occasion. (I couldn't think of a good example now, and a same-sex marriage is not the case.) For ESL learners, I would say you should practically always use: the same. Dec 19, 2013 at 7:44
  • I mean "a/the same something". "a same-sex marriage" doesn't fall into that case.
    – Tim
    Dec 19, 2013 at 7:49
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    @Damkerng: Even if it is in COCA, I don't believe that usage is grammatical. It should be the same. Dec 19, 2013 at 13:39

2 Answers 2


If you want to specify that you share a book, the two ways to put it are:

He and I share a book.

or the other way is:

He and I share the same book.

"the" is a definite article. "same" too is definite. Hence the two are used together.


Grammatically I think the adjective "same " always has "the " or "this""that"

etc.before it:

We all ordered the same thing.

He's driving back to Fairview that same night .

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