Some context for my question if you want to know:
For the longest time when writing English, I have just automatically added the indefinite article in front of most noun phrases because it "sounded right". However, a week ago I realized that it actually conveys the meaning of whether the noun in question is known beforehand to the reader/listener (or if you mean "any of that noun"). Now I'm frying my brain because I'm second guessing my every use of a/an/the, especially since my mother tongue doesn't have such articles.
Anyways, my questions are:
Say me and my friend are running late for work, and he has a car in his garage. In a hurry he starts thinking about public transportation and forgets he has a car(<--or the car? since it's mentioned again?), but with a confused look I say
I mean, you do have a car you know.
Now, I "know" I'm supposed to say "a car", but why is that? since technically he knows the noun in question, it's his car after all, and yet we refer to it as if he doesn't know it at all, as if it's just any car. Is this because we assume he doesn't remember it, and as such it's a new noun to him?
Second question. Me and my girlfriend have a gorgeous house. Now, in the middle of the day in the midst of my thoughts I say to her:
We do have a nice house don't you think.
Again, "a nice house", although she knows the exact house I'm referring to, our house. "The" sounds off, but I don't know why. The one thing I can think for this is that I'm talking about the general idea of a single nice house, and as such it would pass for the "any of that noun" rule.
Now maybe I'm just overthinking these, but it's really irritating since I can otherwise speak quite good English, but now I have to think about the basics....