I have come across it in the program 6 minute english from BBC. It is at 2 minute and 17 second. Here it goes:

He says a white lie is just a distortion of the truth. Distortion here means (a) changing or bending of the truth.

Why was a used before the word changing. Would it be grammatical if I the speaker omitted the article?

  • 2
    In the exact context as given here, the definite article (a) and the indefinite article (the) AND the "zero article" (nothing at all) are all perfectly valid. It's really just a stylistic choice which of those three options to use (and you could repeat the article before the second noun bending, but most writers usually wouldn't). Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 17:43
  • It is a stylistic choice as pointed out above. It is also situational.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 17:45
  • 2
    @FumbleFingers - note that you got "definite" and "indefinite" backwards in your comment. Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 19:56
  • Is this the whole sentence? I wonder whether it isn't a list, as in distortion here means (a) changing or bending of the truth, and (b) [something else].
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 18:16

1 Answer 1


"changing the truth" is a verb statement. "changing of the truth" is a noun statement.

Two valid sentences: "Distortion here means bending the truth". "Distortion here means a changing of the truth".

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