It's a boy who stole my hat.

If in a similar sentence is something mentioned for the first time, but it is known exactly who it is, can I use an article the? If both speakers do not know what exactly is it about but only one of them...


Both "a" and "the" are correct grammar.

If you can answer the question "which boy" then use "the".

In this example, it seems likely that the identity of the boy is made clear by "boy who stole my hat". There is only one such boy, and he is identified by this phrase.

Since the question "which boy" is answered, you would normally use "the boy" in a sentence like this.


It's a black cat. (There are many such cats this is one of them)

It's the purple spotted cat. (There is only one such cat, so saying "purple spotted" identifies it.)


It's a boy who is from the local school (there are many such boys, this is one of them)

It's the boy who stole my hat. (There is only one such boy and this phrase identifies him.)

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