Please give an explanation. And you can give a link to the extended use of articles? I just do not understand why in this case the article "the" is put, if this noun is singular, then the article "a" should be used, as it is written in the rules.

Сan you get the meaning?


Сan you get a meaning?

  • Both the and a are used for singular nouns. Please explain what rule you are referring to—we can't answer without knowing why you think it should be a. Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 15:52
  • Those both sound very unnatural to a native speaker. We don’t “get” “meanings”.
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 16:11
  • 1
    @tchrist - I've found 600 000 results for "get the meaning" on Google Books Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 16:15
  • @CowperKettle Now try for understand.
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 16:16
  • 3
    If she asked whether you got the meaning, she's implying there is one single unambiguous meaning to be got. If she asked whether you got a meaning, that would imply there are several possible meanings (any one of which you might "get"). Commented Dec 31, 2018 at 17:01

1 Answer 1


Broadly speaking, definite article THE is used when the speaker or writer believes that the listener or reader exactly knows what is referred to. The meaning is something specific. Do you get at THE meaning? Hence THE

But one can use an indefinite article if the word has multiple meanings/ implications. Take for example the word, CREDIT. It has different meanings. It may mean deposit, loan, Faith, honour and many more. In that case One may as well pertinently ask, " Can you get a meaning of CREDIT? It has so many meanings. Hence, "A".

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