Student or Learner
In literature, once in a while I come across a strange (or so it seems to me) usage of indefinite articles with first names of people. Here's an example from one of the Harry Potter books: "Treating a hurt and bewildered Hermione with an icy sneering indifference."
Thus, my question: what are the rules for using articles with first names? Is the use of the definite article ever possible?
Here's another example, this one is different and makes a lot more sense now:
"Patrolling officer Jones arrested a man who said that his name was George Bush. After searching through the city's database, the officer discovered a George Bush with outstanding arrest warrants."
Clearly, "a" in this example is similar, if not identical, to the use of "one" in similar context, e.g., "discovered one George Bush with outstanding warrants," meaning "some guy whose name happens to be George Bush."
But I am still perplexed about the use of "a" in my Hermione example above...
A proper noun, as in someone's name, when preceded by the indefinite article, indicates that the bearer of the name is in a temporary state.
Hermione in tears - a tearfu Hermione - is a temporary state, to be superseded by the Hermione we are used to, all serious and studious.
Last edited by David L.; 24-Mar-2008 at 14:57.
How would you similarly characterise the corresponding use of the definite article, as in "Treating the hurt and bewildered Hermione with an icy sneering indifference.", as per stuartnz's comment?
This is inspiring. On the example of the same line of characters, I guess it is possible:
One lovely spring day on Hogwarts' grounds
to come across a warm-hearted Snape
who's making gleeful sounds,
While watching the cunning Malfoy
Perform a Wronsky feint, oh boy.
I think I got it. Thanks David L!
With 'the', it becomes as much a statement of fact as
Treating the sprained ankle with a warm compress.