Zeus or a Zeus

hatgray

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Don't be Scrooge!

Don't be a Scrooge!

Any one can be Captain America.

Any one can be a Captain America.

I want to be Zeus.

I want to be a Zeus.


With the examples above, are they all allusions
with and without "a".

Also is there a difference between the one with "a" and without?

Thank you.
 

Tarheel

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You can't be Scrooge (a fictional character in a novel), but you can be a Scrooge (a person like Scrooge).As for the others, context might make it more clear what is intended.
 

alexpen

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I think you do not capitalize the word if you want to use any of these proper names generically

a scrooge, a zeus...
 

Rover_KE

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alexpen, please read the following extract from the forum's Posting Guidelines:

You are welcome to answer questions posted in the Ask a Teacher forum as long as your suggestions, help, and advice reflect a good understanding of the English language. If you are not a teacher, you will need to state that clearly in your post. Please note, all posts are moderated by our in-house language experts, so make sure your suggestions, help, and advice provide the kind of information an international language teacher would offer. If not, and your posts do not contribute to the topic in a positive way, they will be subject to deletion.
 

hatgray

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What's the difference with the A and without the A please?

And are they both allusions? :)
 

Matthew Wai

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He is Scrooge—he is the fictional character 'Scrooge'.
He is a Scrooge—he is a person like the fictional character 'Scrooge'.

That's how I understand post #2.
 

Tarheel

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What's the difference with the A and without the A please?

And are they both allusions? :)

In these examples, there is not, I think, a difference between them. You can't be Captain America (a comic book superhero), nor can you be a Captain America. (Those kinds of individuals are only in comic books.) The situation with Zeus is similar except that Zeus, of course, was a Greek god.

An allusion is an indirect reference to something.
 

Barb_D

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While I disagree with Tarheel about "you can't be a Captain America" (I read this as being a person with the personality and character of Captain America), he makes a very key point:

You are not using the word "allusion" correctly. Perhaps you mean a metaphor?
 

Tarheel

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I was thinking in terms of someone who fights bad guys and pals around with Thor, Iron Man, and The Hulk.
:-D
 
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