Tell me please what is the difference between the following sentences.

It is totally fine to add suplementary exercises to the main lifts. Just do it at the right time.

It is totally fine to add suplementary exercises to the main lifts. Just do it at a right time.

I heard the latter in a podcast where two native speakers discussed strength training. I was totally confused because I thought that only the definite article could be used before words like right, or wrong. If the second one is also right, then what shade of meaning does it bear?

  • 2
    I assume you mean “a right time” not “a the right time” – Jim May 1 at 17:29
  • Unless I'm missing a subtle difference in meaning between the phrasing in the last part of this question, you've already asked the identical question at ELL. Please consider deleting the question from one of the sites—or making the difference between them more obvious. – Jason Bassford May 1 at 18:15
  • As I commented there, the statement that the is always used before right is simply false: There is a right time for everything. Are you talking only about the specific construction in your question—or about a general rule? – Jason Bassford May 1 at 18:18
  • I am talking about my sentence. I want to see the difference between the two. – Dmytro O'Hope May 1 at 18:25
  • The second example, "at a right time" is incorrect. Native speakers doing recordings like podcasts often make grammar mistakes, so I wouldn't assume it's correct because you heard it on a podcast. You could instead say "at a good time" or "at an appropriate time" if you wanted to indicate that multiple times would work, but that timing is still important. – AlannaRose May 1 at 18:26

This question is actually asking the difference between the word "the" and the word "a"

The difference between "the" and "a" is the number

"the" says there is only 1
"a" says there is more than 1, and any one will do

this is a constant rule and it doesn't matter what is being discussed

"the car" vs "a car"
"the cat with the torn ear" vs "a cat with a torn ear"

now for the dictionary bit:

1.1 Used to refer to a person, place, or thing that is unique.
‘the Queen’ ‘the Mona Lisa’ ‘the Nile’

both are from oxford dictionaries

2. Used to indicate membership of a class of people or things.

‘he is a lawyer’
‘this car is a BMW’

  • 1
    I think the question is more specific than that. It asks about “a right time” vs “the right time” noting that a rule he is aware of says “only the can come before right”. – Jim May 1 at 17:32
  • @Jim maybe you are right. – WendyG May 2 at 9:08

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