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    #1

    Question Article with a name

    "Its owner was a Mr Frederick, a tough, shrewd man, [...]"

    It's from George Orwell's "Animal Farm". Is such a use of articles (and I found a couple of other places with a similar use of the indefinite article) appropriate?

    Thanks,
    Nyggus


    • Join Date: Jan 2007
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    #2

    Re: Article with a name

    At first it seems that a use of the indefinate article before a name is incorrect.
    In fact, it may even be said that such a sentence construction is incorrect.
    The convention of saying "a Mr Frederick" comes from speach, and is a shortened version of the phrase "a certain Mr. Frederick". Such a sentence is mainly used in speach, but especially in more modern writing, we see such phrases coming into writing.

    Simply, this phrase is perfectly acceptable, even though it contradicts rules about the use of the indefinate article (a, an etc.).

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    #3

    Re: Article with a name

    Thanks, Niall. By the way, what do you mean by the "more modern writing"? Is Orwell's writing more modern?

    Nyggus


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    #4

    Re: Article with a name

    Hi,
    It does not contradict the rule. The rule includes all exceptions, doesn't it? That occurence is quite common, meaning -as Niall said - a certain.
    BTW, a strange juxtaposition itself : a= indefinite, certain = definite.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Article with a name

    Quote Originally Posted by Humble View Post
    Hi,
    It does not contradict the rule. The rule includes all exceptions, doesn't it? That occurence is quite common, meaning -as Niall said - a certain.
    BTW, a strange juxtaposition itself : a= indefinite, certain = definite.
    Incidentally, another way of saying 'a certain' is 'one': I'm seeing one Mr Edmonds this afternoon.


    b

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