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  1. AlexAD's Avatar
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    #1

    the postman - an article

    Hi, there.
    Here are some examples where the Definite Article is used before postman.
    1. Has the postman come yet?
    2. This morning the postman brought me a letter without a stamp.
    Why we use the, not a/an article before postman here?
    The only suggestion which however I can hardly believe in is that everyone in the UK/US is assigned the particular postman which is not truth for the place where I come from. Otherwise I think that would be a postman like a conductor.
    Could you please share you ideas?
    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: the postman - an article

    In your sample sentences, "the postman" could be a concept, really meaning "mail". It is not meant to mean a particular person.

    Has the postman come yet? (Has the mail come yet?)
    This morning the postman brought me a letter without a stamp. (This morning, the mail delivered . . .)

    You could also say:

    Has John, the postman, come yet?
    This morning, Mary, the postman, brought me a letter without a stamp.

    Here, it means a particular person with a particular job:

    John has a job as a postman.

  2. AlexAD's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: the postman - an article

    I do also think of that as a concept.
    But is then a/an article possible as well?

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: the postman - an article

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexAD View Post
    I do also think of that as a concept.
    But is then a/an article possible as well?
    No. There is only one postman who delivers your mail on any particular day. That is "the postman". If you live in a place which is served by several post offices, each of which sends a postman to deliver mail, you can say, "Have any postmen been today yet?" (This would seem to be an inefficient postal system; I don't know of anywhere that this happens.)

    However, if you're talking about couriers who deliver packages from private companies, and you're expecting something, you could ask, "Did a courier come today?", "Did any couriers come today?"
    If the person you're speaking to knows you're expecting a package, you'd say, "Has the courier come yet?", or, if you're expecting several couriers, "Have any of the couriers come yet?"

  4. AlexAD's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: the postman - an article

    Thank you, Raymott.
    That is right about I wanted to hear.

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