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I'm creating some application UI. Say when the user clicks a button, a shadow will be created for the given object in the page. And a message will appear saying: Do you want to keep the shadow?

I'm not a native English speaker so when someone suggested me to change the wording to a shadow I feel so hard to accept. Is it correct that I need to change the wording like he said? And why can't I use the here? What I have in mind is that the refers to some particular thing - the created shadow.

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    Basically, a duplicate of a question I already answered. The first mention is "a"; The second mention is "the". ell.stackexchange.com/questions/156455/… Do you want an apple? The apple is on the table. Like that.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 14:44
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    Hi, welcome to ELL stackexchange. Regardless of the correct answer, I think you should omit the article. Since you're designing an application UI, "keep shadow?" seems the most appropriate to me
    – user68365
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 14:46
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    If the shadow appears, and the question comes after it: Keep the shadow?
    – Lambie
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 18:06
  • You already know what shadow is being referred to—it's visible on the screen. The use of the is appropriate. Further, the use of a in that context would not be. The suggestion to changing the wording was misguided. However, you could always hedge your bets and use this (which might actually be better anyway). Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 15:40
  • Hi @ColleenV, well, the native speaker who suggested me to use 'a' said that the shadow actually belongs to some other object, so that's why I'm wondering if there are any subtle differences with other nouns like 'car'/'cat'/'cup of tea'. If there isn't such a difference, I think I've made a duplicated question. Thanks
    – Yufeng Guo
    Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 0:53

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