<a> UFO mutilation theory

VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
A mysterious murder happens. The daughter of the victim tells about red lightning and people from the clouds, which backs up Mulder's theory that it's related to UFO. Later they learn about another murder which happened at the same time as the first one. And the signs are the same too. Scully, however, tells Mulder:
-- Mulder, nothing beyond your leading questions to Teena Simmons [first victim's daughter] substantiates a UFO mutilation theory.
The X-Files, TV series

I'm confused here. It's a specific theory which Mulder represented and described to Scully earlier. Why is she using "a"?
Thank you.

note: the article is in transcripts. I particularly don't hear it:confused:
 
  • VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    I would see it as a theory created to explain the murder(s).
    But she is specific as to the kind of the theory, she says "UFO mutilation"... Would that mean that in her mind, neither Mulder's UFO mutilation theory, nor any other possible UFO mutilation theory would work in that case?
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    People have not agreed on one single UFO mutilation theory. There can be many, though they all have some common elements. Nothing substantiates any of them. It doesn't matter which specific UFO mutilation theory they're discussing, so the indefinite article is used.

    If they had been discussing something where there is one theory that is widely accepted, we would use the definite article ("Nothing we have seen here substantiates the theory of evolution") or another determiner ("Nothing we have seen here substantiates Darwin's theory of evolution").
     
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