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I was reading through some writing from a friend which begins with the following:

Hello, I have recently begun reading this series called Game of Thrones.

(I changed a few personal details but the crux of the sentence is the same.)

My first thought was that "this series" should instead be written as "a series", but I'm not sure if my snap judgement was completely wrong. Using "a series" in this context just sounds more natural to me, for some reason I don't know how to explain. Most of the articles I found online weren't about this specific difference, so I'm still feeling confused. When is it more appropriate to use "this" instead of "a" as a determiner (and vice-versa), and is one better than the other for the above sentence?

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  • Of course the series is "A Song of Fire and Ice" only the first book is called "A Game of Thrones"
    – Jim
    Dec 1, 2019 at 3:10

2 Answers 2

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You can use either but if you say 'this', that usually implies you want to add more details about it, emphasizing that it's special and unique (though sometimes emphasizing that you are unimpressed, it depends on how it's said).

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Use of this... in place of a... serves to make a remark offhand or casual. You wouldn't use it in formal writing or speaking.

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