Let's say there's a service that allows me to create and edit web pages. And I'm filing a bug report:

I can't edit a specific page: https://...

On one hand, using "specific" suggests "the," but it's the first time I'm mentioning the page, which suggests "a." What should I use?

On a side note, I could have titled it "Using the indefinite article...," which would have probably sounded better, but "the 'a' article" probably can be used as well. Although I'm not sure about the order ("the 'a' article," or "the article 'a'"). Or not?

1 Answer 1


Your usage of "I can't edit a specific ..." is exactly how I would write that question.

However it would be just as correct, grammatically speaking, to write: "I can't edit this specific page: ..." and I think you will find both examples in use fairly commonly.

In both cases, the inclusion of 'specific' is the most important bit.

  • It is also possible to say ... this particular page with exactly the same meaning. Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 12:54
  • You also would NOT say "I can't edit the specific page..." because it has not yet been established which specific page is being referred to. There are many pages. Each page is a specific page, but we are only referring to one of them. Thus, "a" is the correct article. Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 23:43
  • So the rules aren't really strong? And although "a specific" makes more sense to me in this context, I can say, "I can't edit the specific page: https://...", because the URL of the page follows right after? Or "this specific page" is okay since it hints at the following URL, but "the specific page" doesn't? And I didn't get the part about importance of the inclusion of 'specific.' Without 'specific' everything changes?
    – x-yuri
    Commented Dec 4, 2021 at 11:23

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