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  1. #1
    vcolts is offline Member
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    Default Article Question

    Sentences:

    1.

    a. John Davis, an assistant director, mentions that the project was self-funded.

    vs

    b. John Davis, assistant director, mentions that the project was self-funded.

    2.

    a. Nick Boyd, Ph.D., says it is possible to do the project within the budget.

    vs

    b. Nick Boyd, a Ph.D., says it is possible to do the project within the budget.

    ===

    Are all of the sentences above correct grammatically?
    When can you omit the article "a" in front of the job/title in the appositives?

    Generally, I am curious about when you can omit articles.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Article Question

    Both sentences in 1 are ok.
    Although to call him "an assistant director" is to describe him rather than use his title. It would depend on the context which is more appropriate.

    As PhD is always part of the man's title there is never "a" before it.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Article Question

    Ummm.... that's a good rule, but in fact, it is sometimes used as "a PhD."

    I couldn't make heads or tails of what he wrote.
    Yeah, but what do you expect? He's a PhD. They're trained to write that way.

    This problem seemed to complex to solve but we threw Jim and Tammy at it - they're both PhDs - and they came up with the solution.

    It's a shorthand - yes, probably slangy way - to say "A person who holds a PhD."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Article Question

    Oh Ok

    I'd say he's a doctor or hes got a PhD.

    I guess It's an american usage

    I have heard americans talk about MDs so I guess you could stretch it to PhDs.

    If you say someone's an MD in the UK that would just be a Managing Director.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Article Question

    Quote Originally Posted by timjphillips View Post
    If you say someone's an MD in the UK that would just be a Managing Director.
    Glad to know that - we would indeed say "He's an MD."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  6. #6
    vcolts is offline Member
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    Default Re: Article Question

    Erm, I don't think I am getting a clear answer to the question.

    I would be concerned with the formal essay writing grammar used in North America.

    Is having the article with titles/jobs always okay?
    Is not having the article with titles/jobs always okay?

    Which is more formal/suitable in essay writing?

    Phillips mentioned that it might depend on the context. Could you elaborate/clarify a little bit? Because I thought that describing one's job is same as listing one's title?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Article Question

    To me, the difference between "an assistant director" and "assistant director" is that the first tells me there are multiple assistant directors. Just using the title without the article would suggest to me that his business card reads "Assistant Director." As long a that's true, then there's not a lot of difference in meaning, and there is no difference in formality. Either is okay.

    To refer to someone as "a PhD" is (to my ear) informal, and in the UK (per Tim's post) is incorrect.

    John Davis, Ph.D., is the same as John Davis, M.D., or John Davis, Esq. (Do they still use "Esq."?)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  8. #8
    vcolts is offline Member
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    Default Re: Article Question

    So the job title without the article is the normal/safe way to write in essay writing, correct?

    I have a question about the capitalization though. Is it "Bob, Assisant Director," or "Bob, assistant director,"?


    If I intent to direct the person's job more specifically, using the article is necessary or better? So for instance, "Bob, the assistant director," ? or is there any difference?


    Thanks in advance.

  9. #9
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Article Question

    Capitalizing titles is a matter of style, not grammar, so there is no way that is completely correct all the time.

    If you have a "house style" (the style used by your company/school/etc.) then used that.

    Otherwise, I would suggest NOT capitalizing a title after a name and only capitalizing when it comes before. John Davis, chair of the board of directors, is... vs. Board of Directors Chair John Davis is...
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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