Could you tell me which article, a or the I use before stronger connection in the context below?

Usually your phone prioritizes the network with a/the stronger connection.

I can't figure out the logic behind using one or the other.

  • 4
    Does this answer your question? Articles we should use when we are talking about a specific person and clothing. The syntactic issue here is the same as See the man over there in the / a black coat? Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 12:04
  • Thanks, but it doesn't answer my question in no way. I asked about a specific context, the answers to the question you posted the link to give only general guidelines Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 12:07
  • What makes you think the network with a/the stronger connection is any different to the man with a/the blue shirt? Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 12:11
  • There aren't that many written instances to compare, but arguably this NGram comparing favor the/a applicant with the/a [attribute] suggests the definite article is becoming the dominant choice in such constructions. Over and above the fact that consistency is a major factor affecting the choice of terms. Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 12:23

1 Answer 1


You would use a if you are referring to one of many possibilities, for example:

The phone switches to a network with a stronger connection than the current one.

This sentence suggests that there might be multiple connections that are stronger than the current network, and the phone could switch to any of those networks.

We use the when there is only one option.

The phone switches to the network with the strongest connection

This sentence suggests that there are many possible connections but only one of them is the strongest, and that's the one that the phone will choose.

strongest is a superlative. If there are only two possible connections, we use the comparative stronger rather than the superlative. As with multiple connections, only one of these connections is the stronger, so we use the.

The phone switches to the network with the stronger connection

Noe that this sentence is valid only if there are just two networks available. If there are more than two networks, you should use the superlative, as in the second example.

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