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Hi,

Let us say that one was trying to buy a missing botton to his shirt at a button shop and he bought it. Can I say this?

I bought a button to a shirt.
I bought the button to a shirt.

The thing that confuses me is that in some contexts, I see the phrase "a something to (or of) a something" and in some contexts I see the phrase "the something to a something" when pointing to a definite object that belongs to something else.
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Hi,
Let us say that one was trying to buy a missing botton to his shirt at a button shop and he bought it. Can I say this?

I bought a button to for a shirt. 'For' is the standard preposition here.
I bought the button to a shirt.There is no reason to use the specific article 'the', unless perhaps the shirt only uses one button, which is unlikely, or unless you have already mentioned that you need a button.

The thing that confuses me is that in some contexts, I see the phrase "a something to (or of) a something" and in some contexts I see the phrase "the something to a something" when pointing to a definite object that belongs to something else.

Various prepositions can be used, depending on the context and focus. Prepositions are hard to learn and hard to explain, but here are a few comments on how I see them.

I bought a key for the door. Focuses on the idea that the key will be suitable for the door.
I bought a key to the door. Focuses on the idea that the key will give access to a place, via the door.
Here is the key of the door. Focuses on the idea that the key belongs to the door.

I'd say the most commonly heard is 'for'.
When you say 'a button for a shirt', you mean 'a button that is suitable for a shirt'.

Best wishes, Clive

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AnonymousHi,

Let us say that one was trying to buy a missing botton to his shirt at a button shop and he bought it. Can I say this?

Sorry, but I just couldn't let this pass. One doesn't buy a "missing button" but rather a button to replace a missing button.