When trying to say a sentence with the following structure:

You also have [x] possibility to open a savings account

When is it appropriate to use 'a' and when is it appropriate to use 'the'?

  • I'd say they're equivalent, and that it is unprofitable to try to decide best usage on logical grounds (is the possibility best considered as a specific or non-specific case here). Both variants are used, but these Google Ngrams show the usual choice (the). – Edwin Ashworth Mar 5 '17 at 15:32

a possibility

a/an = indefinite article ("A" and "an" signal that the noun modified is indefinite, referring to any member of a group)

You also have a possibility to open a savings account.

This statement is suggestive of one possibility out of a few other possibilities.

the possibility

the = definite article (The definite article is used before singular and plural nouns when the noun is specific or particular.)

You also have the possibility to open a savings account

Here, more stress is laid on the single possibility, without any consideration for other possibilities (which may/may not exist). The possibility of opening a saving account has much more weight in this statement, as compared to the latter.

  • I disagree. The example refers to a single option. Even if "possibility" referred to some non-count measure, there is only a single value associated with the option. Only "the" would be applicable. That said, "to open" doesn't go with possibility. You could say "it is possible to open..." or "the possibility of opening...". "possible to open" would be the more natural way to say it, but typical speech would be "you can open..." (one syllable to replace the equivalent "have the possibility to"). – fixer1234 Mar 5 '17 at 23:24

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.