Recently I asked a question about articles. Since I did not understand that case clearly I continued on this topic and have a couple of another questions why authors (native English speakers) used 'a' over 'the'.

  1. A person says:

Next summer, I'll be on a island, with your girlfriend, and a pocket full of numbers.

Why did he say 'a pocket' if it's obvious he was talking about his pocket?

  1. Another person says:

I'm riding with a friend that is high as me

Why did he say 'a friend' if the situation occurred in the car in which there were nobody except them 2.

P.S. Actually, the words 'girlfriend' and 'friend' were replaced over strong language.


Because the words “pocket” and “friend” are just introduced — they were not already used before.

It doesn't matter that we may precisely determine which pocket/friend it is, the only important thing is that they are just introduced, and they are not names of unique objects (as e.g. the Earth).

“I have an apple. The apple is red.” (After introducing an object, we use “the”.)

  • 1. Could you please take a look at the linked question and say whether the rule just introduced works there? 2. If i would go with 'the pocket' and 'the friend', would I be mistaken? – Ivan Sep 29 '19 at 16:34
  • 1
    1. It isn't about the “just introduced” rule, it's about uniqueness (as the Earth). 2. Definitely yes, it would be incorrect. – MarianD Sep 29 '19 at 16:58
  • one more question please if you don't mind. I got a/the jacket that nobody has got in my city. Which one the or a? – Ivan Sep 29 '19 at 17:19
  • Definitely “... a jacket...”. – MarianD Sep 29 '19 at 18:15

Besides MarianD's remarks: a pocket full of numbers may suggest a measurement – a pocketful, a collection of numbers (women's telephone numbers?) that suffices to fill up a pocket – rather than the contents of a literal pocket.

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