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I came across these two sentences while reading:

Acme hereby grants Widgetco a license to use the Marks in … .
Acme hereby grants Widgetco the right to use the Marks in … .

There is no additional context. They are two standalone sample sentences. Why does the author use "the" for "right", but "a" for license? My original opinion is that both sentences should use "the", because they are talking about specific things. Doesn't "to use sth" modify the "license" so that it can be identified? My guess is that this has something to do with the nature of a license. You can have several licenses for one right. Right?

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  • The first one may be "....a license for/giving the right to use the marks... The word 'right' sounds more emphatic with 'the' before, against "...grants a right to use..." which sounds a little odd, doesn't it?
    – Ram Pillai
    Feb 9 at 8:01
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    There are many licenses (issued to each authorized party) there is only one right.
    – Jim
    Feb 9 at 8:02
  • Imho, granting a licence strongly implies others may be or have been given the same rights. But granting the right carries no such implication. Feb 9 at 14:17
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Short answer - there is only one right being spoken of here, but there may be many licenses. Only the unique item gets the definite article.

The same right can be held by more than one person - this is a 'shared right'.

A license is usually issued to one person, or perhaps sometimes a group of people, to confirm or grant that they have a particular right.

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