A threat of legal action [A?]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Jignesh77, May 26, 2017.

  1. Jignesh77 Senior Member

    Leeds uk
    India- hindi
    The book was halted in South Africa by a threat of legal action.

    I saw the above example sentence in Cambridge online dictionary.

    please explain to me the use of indefinite article "a" before the phrase "of legal action"?

    I thought we should use "the" when it is followed by "of phrase" which makes the reference specific?

    Thanks
     
  2. Jignesh77 Senior Member

    Leeds uk
    India- hindi
    Thanks. In all your examples, the nouns are used in general sense so should we not use "a"? I am sorry I am still confused. I know the basic rules or articles.
     
  3. rhitagawr

    rhitagawr Senior Member

    Wales
    British English
    Sorry if I confused you. I've deleted my post because I see it doesn't answer your question properly. I can reinstate it if you wish. The a goes with threat and not with (of) legal action.
    I take your point. The a makes it sounds as though a particular person has threatened legal action. So I wouldn't say a threat was grammatically wrong.
    The threat suggests a general possibility of legal action. You're not thinking of a particular legal action. Perhaps the book offended against the censorship laws and the publisher feared he might be prosecuted at some point.
     
  4. Jignesh77 Senior Member

    Leeds uk
    India- hindi
    Thank you for your help.
     
  5. rhitagawr

    rhitagawr Senior Member

    Wales
    British English
    My pleasure.
     

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