"Time for the/a big one (referring to a big (important) rugby match)!

Do I use the indefinite article a or the definite article the?

Thank you!

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  • Is this the most important/biggest rugby match or one of several that are similar in importance/size? – Eric Hauenstein Dec 5 '14 at 18:29
  • It's one of several that are important. – ash82910 Dec 5 '14 at 19:49

Both are correct, but it depends on what you wish to express:

(1) Time for "the" big one." means that there is one, specific match that is important to you.

(2) Time for "a" big one." also means that there is one, specific match that is important to you, but there will be more to follow.

In short, it comes down to one important match versus many.

Does that help?

  • The use of the indefinite article in "a big one" doesn't signify that there is one specific match that is important to you, merely that the one in question is big. Importance doesn't enter into it. – Robusto Dec 5 '14 at 19:29

"The big one", definitely. "Time for a big one" sounds silly to me, in almost every context.


Sports announcers and sports fans prefer "the" (superlative) over "a" (indefinite). Consider the crosstown rivalry between the Metropolis Mavericks and the Metropolis Mavens.

Suppose that last year the Mavericks and Mavens were at the very top of the league and played against one another during post-season play to determine which team was the league champion. The long-standing regular season matchup between the two teams now takes on a special meaning; this regular season matchup is "the big one".

Suppose on the other hand that Mavericks and Mavens were at the very bottom of the league last year, and that both teams have continued to play abysmally this year. Despite the fact that the game between the two has zero bearing on the larger picture, announcers will inevitable find some way to use "the" rather than "a" to describe the one match these two teams do play one another during a season. "This is the oldest crosstown rivalry in the nation. This is the big one!"

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