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Question
Dear Ted:

Is there a difference between "to have A chance to do something" and "to have THE chance to do something"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

BTW, is it Always "to have a/the chance TO DO something" or is "to have a/the chance OF DOING something" also possible?

Many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

  
Is there a difference between "to have A chance to do something" and "to have THE chance to do something"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

**** Use "a" for something general; use "the" for something specific.

EXAMPLES:

I have A chance of winning the lottery.

There is always A chance that the trains will not run on time.

My teacher gave me THE chance to improve my grade by submitting extra work.

The weatherman said that there is THE chance of thunderstorms today, so I am wearing my
raincoat.

*** NOTE:  The two articles can be interchanged and the sentences will retain their meaning.  What I mean by "specific" is that the event is more like to take place than not.



BTW, is it Always "to have a/the chance TO DO something" or is "to have a/the chance OF DOING something" also possible?

*** Yes, both of these constructions are correct.

Happy New Year.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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