Learn English – Just a drop in the/an ocean ?

meaning

I wonder why people use "in the ocean" while grammatically it is incorrect to use. Shouldn't it be "in an ocean" ?

and also I got a doubt while typing the above sentence. Should I have been typed "when grammatically" instead of "while grammatically"

Thanks!

Best Answer

Grammatically incorrect? What gives you that notion about the ocean?

It's not grammatically wrong (and I don't think this has anything to do with "connected oceans," either).

Using the definite article here doesn't imply there's only one ocean, and we need not have an aforementioned ocean to use a definite article.

We can use word "the" when we are making a generic reference to something (see Definition 7 at Collins). For example:

  • The lion is king of the jungle
  • Bob plays the clarinet
  • It's just a drop in the bucket
  • Out of the frying pan and into the fire
  • That's money in the bank
  • I wouldn't bet the mortgage on that
  • I'm taking this to the post office