2

What is the difference

On the biggest issue facing our country since the second world war, Labour should be committed to providing the opportunity for people to change their mind.

VS

On the biggest issue facing our country since the second world war, Labour should be committed to providing an opportunity for people to change their mind.

  • Well, for me there could be a small difference, but that might depend on the interpretation of the listener. In the first sentence it sounds to me, like the speaker wants Labour to provide the best opportunity, while in the second he wants Labour to provide any opportunity (which might be the best or might just be one in many. – Geshode Dec 28 '17 at 5:59
1

A search against news sources will show that they are used interchangeably. However, many years ago, I remember being taught that there was a subtle difference - that the definite article was to be used where it was linked to a specific action:

Labour should commit to a 2% increase in spending in order to provide people with the opportunity to...

While the indefinite article fitted better where the situation was more generalised:

Housing affordability is a major problem, Labour should do more to provide people with an opportunity to buy their first home

But, I can find absolutely no evidence to support this and suspect that it was more to do with a particular teacher's preferences.

For completeness, it's worth noting that, often, the article is not required if you can use a plural:

Labour should be committed to providing opportunities for people to change their mind.

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