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  1. #1
    nyggus is offline Key Member
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    A children's doctor

    Hi,

    Articles again. I've just come across a phrase "a children's doctor"; I thought the a is incorrect here since it's attached to children—am I right?

    Thanks,
    nyggus

  2. #2
    Lynxear's Avatar
    Lynxear is offline Senior Member
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    Re: A children's doctor

    We would not refer to a doctor as a "children's doctor". He would be called a Pediatrician.
    Experience is recognizing a mistake the second time you make it.
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  3. #3
    bubbha is offline Senior Member
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    Re: A children's doctor

    "children's" modifies the noun "doctor". The "a" is not attached to "children", but to the noun phrase "children's doctor".
    NOT A TEACHER. Translator and editor, and I hold a TESOL certificate. Native speaker of American English (West Coast)

  4. #4
    tedmc is offline VIP Member
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    Re: A children's doctor

    A pediatrician doesn't just deal with children but infants too right from birth.
    I am not a teacher or a native speaker.

  5. #5
    nyggus is offline Key Member
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    Re: A children's doctor

    Quote Originally Posted by bubbha View Post
    "children's" modifies the noun "doctor". The "a" is not attached to "children", but to the noun phrase "children's doctor".
    I see your point, but it's not what was taught. I was taught that in such phrases the a is attached to children. This page explain this issue, but now I am wondering whether it's the only way of seeing it.

  6. #6
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    Re: A children's doctor

    I think you may have been taught correctly, but you're just confusing how "children's" is being used. You seem to be viewing "children's" as a plural noun, when in this sentence it's really functioning like an adjective. Since it's functioning as an adjective, treat it like you would any other adjective. The doctor doesn't belong to the children, children are simply the doctor's specific area of specialization (otherwise known as pediatrics).

    Since the next word following the article begins with a consonant sound, use 'a' instead of 'an', unless you need the definite article. (I believe this is probably what you mean by "what I was taught").

    Some examples:
    A good doctor
    An excellent doctor
    A children's doctor
    A heart doctor (aka cardiologist)

    The good doctor
    The excellent doctor
    The children's doctor (here it could be referring to the doctor attending specific children)
    The heart doctor
    Last edited by Skrej; 02-Aug-2017 at 07:08.
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  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: A children's doctor

    Quote Originally Posted by nyggus View Post
    I was taught that in such phrases the a is attached to children.
    You may not have been taught correctly on this issue. If you have a football game, where both are singular, what does the article connect to? Are you talking about a football or a game, with additional information about the type of game?

  8. #8
    nyggus is offline Key Member
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    Re: A children's doctor

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    You may not have been taught correctly on this issue. If you have a football game, where both are singular, what does the article connect to? Are you talking about a football or a game, with additional information about the type of game?
    "a football game" is different since it has no possessive. Hence my mistake. From Skrej's explanation I understand now the difference between "a children's doctor" and "John's doctor" (which is not "a John's doctor").

  9. #9
    Lynxear's Avatar
    Lynxear is offline Senior Member
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    Re: A children's doctor

    Quote Originally Posted by tedmc View Post
    A pediatrician doesn't just deal with children but infants too right from birth.
    Infants are not children? Nyggus has given us a two word phrase with no context. We have no idea as to the the age of the children.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 02-Aug-2017 at 18:16. Reason: Fixing typo.
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  10. #10
    nyggus is offline Key Member
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    Re: A children's doctor

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynxear View Post
    Infants are not children? Nyggus has given us a two word phrase with no context. We have no idea as to the the age of the children.
    Sorry for lack of context—but I have to agree with you that infants "might be considered" children; if I sound cocksure, it's only because I have support from Merriam-Webster. At least in Poland, pediatricians manage health of children from the very first day of their lives.

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