Another study used "a" skin tissue that is epithelial.

If I am writing an article and if I write "the" instead of "a" without writing anything about the particular type of tissue that is "skin" but later on describing the particular type of tissue.

So, will it be correct to do so because "the" is used when something has already been discussed? Many a times, writer put "the" without descrbing about the particular word for which it has been used.

  • You don't need an article. "Another study used epithelial skin tissue". Oct 27, 2023 at 22:27
  • Could you explain why you would want to use "the" instead of "a"? What are you trying to communicate by doing that?
    – Dan Getz
    Oct 28, 2023 at 13:34
  • If you are asking if "later on" in the text counts as "already", the answer is no, "already" would mean earlier.
    – Dan Getz
    Oct 28, 2023 at 13:36

1 Answer 1


This would be the usual difference between "a" and "the". It is subtle, but not different from what your textbook says about the meaning of the words. "The" is used when the "skin tissue that is epithelial" is definite; you can say which tissue is being referred to. "A" is used when one indefinite tissue is referred to.

The word "tissue" may be countable or non-count. So "the tissue" can refer in a general way to the type of tissue. It is also possible to use no article, as an indefinite non-count noun.

The relative clause "that is epithelial" looks odd. It is better to use the adjective as an attribute "Another study used an epithelial skin tissue".

  • @can I use the definite article if something has not been already discussed as it is told that use definite article to specify a word and when it is known to readers. Oct 27, 2023 at 23:48
  • It might be known definitely already before you discuss it. Your text book should give examples.. EG "Which place in the world should be best for astronomy?" The word "world" is already definitely identified as "our planet Earth" by context. It does not need to have been discussed..
    – James K
    Oct 27, 2023 at 23:54
  • I am using a strategy and that is preferring to use "a" before the word and followed by describing about that word in the text, so, that a reader will know immediately. Will it be correct ? Oct 28, 2023 at 0:00
  • No. You should use the correct article. This is subtle and can't be encapsulated in a simple "first use 'a' second use 'the'" type rule. Getting articles wrong is one of the most obvious mistakes that English learners make, so you are not alone. This is difficult, but important!
    – James K
    Oct 28, 2023 at 0:04

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .