A/the knitting needle


Senior Member
A guy is killed on an airplane with a knitting needle.

Medical examiner: The use of the knitting needle was both crude and effective.

Is "the" used there because he's looking at it?
Would "a" also work?
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    He used "the" because he's referring to a specific knitting needle - the one that was used.

    Yes, "a" would also work here.


    English - England
    The use of a knitting needle= the use of one/a random knitting needle. A/an is used to introduce a countable object or idea for the first time.

    A: "How was he killed?"
    B: "With a knitting needle":tick:

    A: "How was he killed?"
    B: "With the knitting needle." :cross:
    A: "A knitting needle?! Which knitting needle?! What are you talking about? Nobody has mentioned a knitting needle!"

    "A/an" is mainly used to fulfill a criterion of English: all singular, countable nouns must have a determiner to qualify them. If "the1" is not appropriate, then we say "a/an".

    1 or my, this, one, each, every any, etc.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    The speaker used "the knitting needle" to refer to the specific needle that was used. But at the same time, that specific needle is something that falls under the category of knitting needles which are generally of the same/similar shape and size. It's therefore "a needle" as well as "the needle".
    < Previous | Next >