What is the difference in the application of the article before choosing the side? Or not at all (in what cases)?

a left


the left

Well, for example, such an example: "this is a / the left eye". Why can't we use the article "a" here?

1 Answer 1


Left is an adjective. It has no impact on the sort of article you want. Are you talking about an eye that wants a definite article, such as the abstract left eye, or when comparing the left to the right (such as on a single person)? Then use the definite article. If it's just any old left eye, use the indefinite.

Adding adjectives to a noun does not affect what article you use (unless it changes which form of the indefinite article is needed, naturally).

  • Does this rule also work when choosing a side to which you can go or turn, etc.?
    – Boyep
    Feb 9, 2019 at 20:43
  • 1
    In a sense. When you're saying "take a left", or "take the next right", there's an implicit "turn" after the direction.
    – SamBC
    Feb 9, 2019 at 20:52
  • 2
    @Boyep For additional clarity, In turn left, left is an adverb, not an adjective. And left can also be a verb in other contexts. Feb 9, 2019 at 21:35

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