From a document I've been proofreading:

The Medical officer or the Responsible medical specialist has provided me with the opportunity to ask questions about the Treatment.

Should it not be an opportunity? Or would the use of an indicate only a single chance, whereas the use of the would indicate some opportunity in general, on a number of occasions?

Is the use of the grammatical here? The "opportunity to ask questions about the Treatment" was not mentioned previously in the document, so I'm unsure.

  • 1
    It's one of those examples in which both an and the are legitimate. In this case, an sounds more specific - possibly to time/date/place. The sounds more like approval of a request in principle. I'd stick to the. Commented Aug 3, 2020 at 8:53

1 Answer 1


Either is acceptable. It is both a specific opportunity (which makes the definite article appropriate) but possibly also one of many past or present opportunities (making the indefinite article also appropriate).

Consider as an example:

  • "Thank you for sending me a letter"
  • "Thank you for the letter you sent me"

In this example, you are referring to a specific letter, but as it may not be the only letter the person has sent you or the only letter you have received, either article works.

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