essay on a/the photo taken by ....


New Member
Defining relative clause | Grammaring - A guide to English grammar

I was reading the article above, and I was trying to play around with the idea, confronting hardship with the sentences below.

"I wrote my essay on a photo taken by Robert Capa."

So this is talking about the kind of the photo.

But is it valid to use the in this sentence?

I wrote my essay on the photo taken by Robert Capa"

I think it is valid only when there is only one photo taken by Robert Capa or if the photo is already mentioned. What I would like to know is, if the listener has never been informed about the photo and does not even know about Robert Capa, under what situation can "the" be used? Can "the" still be used as an emphasis on who took the photo in a situation the listener is not informed about the photo yet?
  • Juhasz

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    There is an instance where using the (and pronouncing it thee) can be used for emphasis. If you said "This is the phone taken by Robert Capa," you might mean that it's such a significant photograph, it's so much better than the others that he took, it's as if he had only taken that one single picture. The definite article doesn't emphasize Capa, as you suggest, it emphasizes the quality of the picture.
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