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    #1

    Use of articles

    Dear teachers,

    I would like to know why the indefinite article is used in (1) but the definite article in (2) below:

    (1)She is an angel of a woman(=an angelic woman)
    (Could I say, "She is the angel of a woman," instead?)
    (2)He has the devil of a temper(=a devilish temper)
    (Could I say, "He has a devil of a temper," instead?)

    Thank you.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Use of articles

    We don't normally use the definite article in '... devil of a ...'. COCA has 55 examples of 'a devil of a' and only four of 'the devil of a'.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Use of articles

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepurple View Post
    Dear teachers,

    I would like to know why the indefinite article is used in (1) but the definite article in (2) below:

    (1)She is an angel of a woman(=an angelic woman)
    (Could I say, "She is the angel of a woman," instead?) No.
    (2)He has the devil of a temper(=a devilish temper) That's incorrect.
    (Could I say, "He has a devil of a temper," instead?) That is what we say.

    Thank you.
    ems

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    #4

    Re: Use of articles

    In these particular sentences, there are idioms or expressions that contain specific articles.

    She has the heart of an angel.

    She has a devil of a time in math class.

    In other circumstances, you can use different articles to go with the words "angel" and "devil"

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    #5

    Re: Use of articles

    Thank you to you teachers.
    Madam Susiedq, could you give me some more examples where the other articles are used "in other circumstances"? Thanks in advance.?

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