I am writing to an exchange student, who is my partner in this exchange program. I am writing for the first time – but he already knows he has an exchange partner. Which of the following would it be correct to use?

  • ”Hi, I am [name], an exchange student.”


  • ”Hi, I am [name], the exchange student”.
  • 3
    The first is very unnatural-sounding in this context. But the second needs licensing details: "”Hi, I am [name], the exchange student partnering with you in the program.” Commented May 21 at 9:27

1 Answer 1


The definite article is used for something uniquely identified. You're not the only exchange student, so you're just "an" exchange student - one of many. However, you're the only one who is going to be writing to this particular person, and within that context you are unique. So, you can use the definite article but you need to add the context:

I'm the exchange student partnered with you in the program.

Instead, you could perhaps use a determiner rather than an article:

I'm your exchange partner.

  • I"'m your exchange partner." is the correct term as the other person already knows the background. It is also informal and friendly. Commented May 25 at 13:38
  • @JamesMathai It's not the term in the OP.
    – Astralbee
    Commented May 25 at 21:50
  • Yes I noticed it. You had provided it as an alternative in your answer. Commented May 26 at 4:32
  • @JamesMathai Apologies, I see what you mean. Yes, it's a given that they are both students.
    – Astralbee
    Commented May 26 at 8:12

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