Could you tell me if the use of the but not a affect the meaning of the following sentence in any way?

Could you lay your phone aside and listen to me for a second.

Could you lay your phone aside and listen to me for the second.

In my experience a is mostly used in similar contexts, but I have also seen the used similarly.

  • 2
    can't imagine the context with "the" can you give a specific example
    – James K
    May 15, 2020 at 16:46
  • 3
    If you have, it's non-standard. May 15, 2020 at 16:46
  • It's listen to me, not listen me. May 16, 2020 at 19:19

1 Answer 1


It's "listen to me for a second", NOT "the second". If you saw an example that said "the second", either the writer made a mistake or you're taking out of context.

This is a classic example of the use of articles "a" vs "the". You're asking the person to listen for "a second". It is not some particular second, it's any second (presumably within the next few minutes).

  • Maybe it was a misreading of "for the second time!". May 15, 2020 at 17:02
  • @JackO'Flaherty Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.
    – Jay
    May 15, 2020 at 17:04

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