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Hello,

Is it passport application that they require?
Is it the passport application that they require?

We are talking about a regular passport application needed by some government office. My teacher says that the definite article (the passport application) is better and sounds more natural. In that case, he says, all passport applications are lumped together into one general concept.

But he says that "a passport application" is correct, too, if I want to say "any passport application".

Do you agree?

Thank you as always.
Doris 
Comments  
Use "the" when you are distinguishing the category of application

Is it the passport or the Visa application that they require?
DorisPaoBut he says that "a passport application" is correct, too, if I want to say "any passport application".Do you agree?
Yes.

If they come to a window with a sign "Passports," then the following is natural:

Clerk: Do you want a new passport application form, or a passport renewal form?
DorisPaoDo you agree?
Yes, I do, except I don't think that either choice sounds more natural than the other.

In the case of 'a', it's a matter of identifying what sort of thing they require. A passport application? A guide dog for the blind? A rocket that can go into space? A garden gnome?

In the case of 'the', it's a matter of selecting which sort of thing (probably which sort of document) they require (among things that appear to be logical possibilities). The passport application (that I'm holding)? The birth certificate (that I'm holding)? The checkbook (that I'm holding)?

CJ
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Thank you, AS!
CJ,

Thank you. I should have described the situation. This office requires you to submit a passport application for another application to be processed. My teacher says (echoed by AS above):
1. If it is a category (passport application as a whole, covering ALL passport applications), use the
2. If it is any passport application, use a

In the situation described, I suppose I can use either one and no one will think I am an ignoramus? Emotion: smile

Thank you.
DorisPaoIn the situation described, I suppose I can use either one and no one will think I am an ignoramus?
That seems reasonable. Yes. Emotion: smile

CJ
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CalifJimThat seems reasonable. Yes.
Thank you!