I've come to think today whether the use of the definite article in the context of the following post is correct:

Having trouble understanding Pride and Prejudice? Being visually impaired, are you looking for the accessible text of the novel? If your answer to any of the above questions is yes, then you may find my annotated version of the novel useful.

The accessible text ... sounds more natural to me than an accessible text of ... Nevertheless, as there could be many versions of the text, i.e. editions, prints, etc., I am not quite sure whether the usage of the definite article here would be correct.

I was trying to resolve my doubts with google ngrams, but the tool has not proved to be very useful in this particular case.

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    What is the context? A publisher offering an 'accessible' version of the novel? If so, they would want to make it seem as though theirs is the "one to have", not "one of many". Also 'the' can be used when there are many, to stress that it is the best known, or most used. "This is the accessible version". Jun 9, 2021 at 8:20
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    So, why would they imply there might be other versions available? Compare "Thank you for finding the accessible version of P&P!" with "You have found an accessible version of P&P but there might be other versions which you prefer." Jun 9, 2021 at 8:55
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    What you say is generally correct, but not inviolable. For example in this Wikipedia discussion about what "empty string" means (in computer technology) they refer to "the empty string" which is at variance with the general rule. Jun 9, 2021 at 9:12
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    In context, "the accessible text" implies that there is only one such version of the novel. This is highly unlikely, as the publisher is free to produce the novel in as many forms as the market will support. Therefore, I would say "an" would be the correct article.
    – RobJarvis
    Jun 9, 2021 at 15:44
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    "... an accessible version of the text ..."
    – gotube
    Jul 20, 2021 at 20:31

1 Answer 1


accessible text is a generalisation not a specific. In fact in the sentence quoted both "a" (an) or "the" would be incorrect. In fact accessible text of the novel is also incorrect. "The novel in accessible text" or an "accessible text edition of the novel, Pride and Prejudice ".

I am looking for a copy of The Mongolian language accessible text edition of the novel, Pride and Prejudice.


Being visually impaired, I would like a novel in accessible text, if you have any?

  • Please note that In my opinion "accessible text" is just another of these new buzz words or worst a sales con. And probably in this case a misleading one. What I suspect they mean are "Large print version" If you are using a e-reader the size of print is manipulated by the reader not the publisher.
    – Brad
    Jun 9, 2021 at 9:35

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