Is that true that it must always be 'the' if there are one or more modifying words? Can't I say, for example,

'There's a car of highly decorated funny appearance'?

Does it have to be

'There's the car of highly decorated funny appearance'?

  • Are you talking about "art cars"? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_car Your sample sentences aren't very clear. – Catija Mar 18 '15 at 21:38
  • Where did you get the idea that adjectivally modified nouns should be preceded by the definite article rather than indefinite? I can't think of any context where that "rule" would make any sense at all, even allowing for the fact that you must have misunderstood something. If you can't provide some support for the idea, I think the question lacks evidence of "prior research". – FumbleFingers Mar 18 '15 at 22:55
  • I heard some people say so, a few times and I've been wondering.. – karlalou Mar 19 '15 at 6:09

No, there is no such requirement. I'm writing this answer from an old, slow laptop, sitting at a desk in a colorful, quirky office.

Using "the" changes the meaning of the sentence. For example,

There is a highly decorated, funny car.

means that a car exists which has lots of decorations and looks funny. You could, for example, be the commentator for a car show, listing the different kinds of cars you see:

There's a small red car, a large, old blue truck, and a highly-decorated funny-looking car between those two.

However, when you say:

There's the highly decorated, funny car.

it means that you're talking about a specific car that has already been brought to the listener's attention. For example:

There's the highly decorated car we talked about yesterday.

So both versions (definite article vs. indefinite article) are correct, but they mean different things.

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