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    #1

    This coming from a/the guy who

    Hello.
    I've heard sentences such as:
    This coming from a guy who learned how to tie his shoes at 14?
    This coming from a guy who decorates his living room with a portrait of dogs playing poker?
    This coming from the guy who has the Josh Groban Christmas album.
    This coming from the woman who spent the entire car ride over here telling me I had the worst possible haircut for my face?


    I don't get which article is correct to use. Or is it that with sentences of this sort that begin like "this coming from...." it's acceptable to use whichever article you want?

    Looking forward to your replies.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: This coming from a/the guy who

    Either article is fine.
    "Invading armies have no rights." Noam Chomsky

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    #3

    Re: This coming from a/the guy who

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Either article is fine.
    Thank you for replying. By the way, they were all said directly to the person. So in this case are they interchangeable?

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: This coming from a/the guy who

    Yes.
    "Invading armies have no rights." Noam Chomsky

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    #5

    Re: This coming from a/the guy who

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Yes.
    Sorry, just one more thing.
    What if I'm not saying it to a person directly, but to someone else about that person, in this case am I free to use either one of the articles as well?

  3. Piscean's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: This coming from a/the guy who

    Yes.

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    #7

    Re: This coming from a/the guy who

    Just out of curiosity, why is the indefinite article even used in sentences like that? Because, I think logically the only option has to be "the". I mean, we're clearly addressing what we say specifically to a particular person. Isn't that right?

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    #8

    Re: This coming from a/the guy who

    There's a logical reason to choose the indefinite article, too. When you say And this, coming from a guy who has everything, you're including the person you're talking about in a larger group of fortunate people. The version with the definite article is at least potentially less inclusive.
    I am not a teacher.

  4. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: This coming from a/the guy who

    Quote Originally Posted by andi harper View Post
    Just out of curiosity, why is the indefinite article even used in sentences like that? Because, I think logically the only option has to be "the". I mean, we're clearly addressing what we say specifically to a particular person. Isn't that right?
    Yes, absolutely, but it works the other way, too. He is a guy who learned to tie his shoes at fourteen.

    The only difference is that "a" assumes that there are other guys who also learned to tie their shoes at fourteen.

    So it makes sense either way, right?
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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