For example:

A reporter is reporting live at the scene where a bear is seemingly stuck in a tree.

As you know, a reporter is with the bear/that bear. Why use "a"?

  • Regarding the second part of your question, how to avoid having your question edited (which was edited out): The purpose of edits is to clarify the question and make it more helpful for others searching later. It can be helpful to see how your question was edited but you shouldn't worry about it.
    – Doarn
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 16:50

2 Answers 2


The word 'a' would typically be used the first time you introduce the topic of the bear. Using the/that implies one specific item, and could be used once the subject of the bear had been brought up.

For example, telling your spouse

"Honey I forgot something at the house" would imply the home you live in, or possibly the house you just left. It implies one specific home.

Saying "Honey I forgot something at a house" is much more general.

  • Thank you for your comment. I just wonder that "Honey I forget something the house" what implies one specific home? Are a pecific stuff or specific place of house or specific house?
    – Ted
    Commented Mar 3, 2018 at 12:38
  • I'm sorry I don't quite understand your question. Could you clarify a little bit?
    – citrus128
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 20:20
  • What does " It implies one "specific" home." mean? I know the word meaning, detailed or exactly
    – Ted
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 22:19
  • Ah I see. What it means here is 'one exact home.' For example "The blue house with a red door on the corner of 3rd street" is a specific house. So, "It implies one specific home" here means you are speaking about exactly one house, and not a group of houses.
    – citrus128
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 15:22

If I walked up to a native speaker and said:

The bear is stuck.

most likely the reply would be "What bear? Did I miss something?"

When you say the {X}, you're indicating to listener that you believe they are already familiar with {X}, that you don't need to point out which {X} it is, and that you don't need to introduce {X} to them. You think they are already acquainted with {X}. Clearly that is not the case when you're first introducing a situation to them:

A bear is stuck up in a tree.

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