While having a conversation with an HR about a job location, I constructed the next sentence

Yes, I'd like to relocate to the UK. The city doesn't really matter.

which is bugging me now.

Why did I use the definite article there?

The city I am going to move to doesn't matter.

I thought, from the context, it was easy to figure out what the city I was referring to.

On the other hand, the place I will be relocated to isn't known yet for both me and the listener. For instance, it could be London, or it could be any other city in the country.

A city doesn't matter.

Would I have been correct if I had said that?
Which one is correct?
What would you say?

  • 1
    It's idiomatic to include a determiner in your first example, but you could reasonably use which instead of the. Consider I'd like to relocate to the UK next year. Which / The month doesn't really matter. If you're going to use an article, it must be the definite article, but I've no idea how to describe whatever grammatical principle it is that makes a unquestionably invalid in such constructions. Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 16:15
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of English Grammar (A vs THE)
    – Davo
    Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 16:17
  • 2
    The city may not be known yet, but it is definitely one specific city. For that reason, the is still appropriate.
    – stangdon
    Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 17:07
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers Should it not be What city does not really matter? Which usually implies a limited number of choices. An indefinite article would imply that one is ready to work in the country also. Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 18:00
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    In purely British terms "A city doesn't matter" can mean that you did not mind not being in a city, but a large town, market town etc. would also be acceptable. There are in the UK a relatively small number of places that are regarded as cities it's considered a privilege, granted by a Royal Patent. My home has a population of around 250,000 but because it does not have such a patent is a town.
    – Sarriesfan
    Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


I'd certainly use the definite article in this context. Why? Because it's fixed that the city would be of the UK.

The HR guy and you know that you cannot be placed in any country without being in its city! So, when the listener and the speaker both know it, it's clear to call it 'the.'

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