[1 i] Opening day had to be pushed back as the result of a month long labor dispute between owners and players.

[1 ii] Since the library's purchased archives are primarily from large and well-established publishers and vendors, the head of Acquisitions concluded that losing access to content as the result of publisher failure was a small risk.

[2 i] One of his many achievements in a career spanning 60 years was to instigate pollen counts and send reports to the media, as a result of which the pollen count is still included in weather forecasts today.

[2 ii] I think there's no question, because we know as a result of these undercover investigations, as Jane just mentioned, certainly there have been food recalls. (COCA)

Examples in [1] have definite articles, while [2] indefinite ones. In my eyes, they can be interchangeable, and [2]s need to have the meaning definiteness and have to select ‘the’. But RHD says it, as the result of, is seldom, if ever, used (This dictionary being Korean version, I don’t know the original wording.) What makes the phrase take ‘the’?

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    I think it's pretty much random (but see Obsuskater's cogent answer). Google Ngrams suggests that the was far more popular in the early part of the 19th century and has steadily declined since then; today a is more popular by a fact of 9 or 10 to 1. Of note is that in ordinary speech both will sound like /æzə/, which may have influenced the written form. Jul 15, 2014 at 23:17

1 Answer 1


For the most part, the two phrases can be used interchangeably and will get the same point across. However, there is some nuance between the meanings of each expression. "As a result of X" implies that there's are other results of X. "As the result" implies there is only one result. I believe this is the point you were making with respect to "definiteness." I initially disagreed with the statement that "as the result of" is seldom used, but an Ngram supports that the expression with "the" is used 10x less than the one with "a."

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