<The> start button


Senior Member
Hi Forumites,

I am talking about a computer program. It's supposed to show a start button whenever you log in. I launch the computer program, but I don't see that button. I complain.

Can I say:

"I am missing the start button!"
It's the one that I expect to be there by default.

Can I also say in this context:
"I am missing a start button!"
Any start button, I guess.

If a native English speaker could let me know, I would appreciate it.
  • TomasD

    Senior Member
    Thank you.

    But if you get a computer and there's no keyboard, you will say:

    "I am missing a keyboard".

    Not 'the', right? How are they different?


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I would say, "I cannot find any start button. Can you tell me where it is on the screen?"

    (The odds are that if they say there is a "start button" that it actually exists. Perhaps your computer will not show it, but certainly if a start button is required to start a program is would be silly to sell it until the start button is installed.)


    Senior Member
    I think I got it. Here it is:

    "I am missing the start button" - it's the button that's supposed to be there by default. Where's it?

    "I am missing a keyboard" - it might not be expected or it might not have been there by default, but I need it
    Last edited:

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    In a given program, there's only one start button, so we use the (= the specific one).
    There are dozens of possible keyboards on sale in any computer shop, so we can use a (= any random one).
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