Names of Persons

Names of Persons

1. Normally, a personal name, being the name of someone imagined as unique needs no article:

Anthony shrugged his shoulders.

Philip Lombard grinned.

Family relations with unique reference (Mother, Mummy, Mom, Father, Daddy, Dad, Uncle, Aunt, Grandmother, Grandfather) behave like proper nouns. They are treated as such by the members of the family and are usually written with the capital letter: “I’d like to see Mother,” said Emily. But: The father was the tallest in the family.

Personal names with nouns denoting titles, ranks or scientific degrees take no article: Lord Byron, Professor Higgins, Dr. Watson, President Lincoln, Colonel Brown. No article Names of Persons is used in combinations like Aunt Polly.

2. The definite articles is used:

a) with a family name in the plural denoting the whole family:

The Forsytes were resentful of something, not individually, but as a family.

We had dined with the Browns several times before.

b) when names of persons are modified by a particularizing attribute (a limiting of-phrase of a restrictive attributive clause):

This Pat wasn’t at all like the Pat of his memories.

This was not the Simon he had known so long.

c) when names of persons are modified by descriptive attributes indicating a Names of Persons permanent quality of the person in question, or by common nouns denoting a profession:

At that moment they were interrupted by the beautiful Mrs. Shobbe.

Have you ever heard about the painter Reynolds?

No article is used when names of persons are modified by the following adjectives: little, old, young, dear, poor, honest: Old Jolyon invited him in, but Young Jolyon shook his head.

d) when the speaker wishes to emphasize that the person named is the very one that everybody knows:

You say Shakespeare lived here. Do you mean the Shakespeare or somebody else?

“Who is Names of Persons this?” ―“Good heavens, don't you know? It is the great Einstein!”

3. The indefinite article is used:

a) to indicate that one member of the family is meant:

His mother was a Devereux: Lady Margaret Devereux.

There is a young American girl staying at the hotel. She is a Miss Pender.

b) to indicate a certain person, normally unknown to the hearer:

At a table in a corner the Colonel was introduced to a Mrs. Bilst and a Mrs. Peek.

I’m spending the day with a Miss Warren.

4. Proper names can be converted into common nouns indicating a Names of Persons) concrete objects or b) someone having characteristics of the person named. In this case they take the article according to the general rule:

Lanny has sold them an especially fine Goya.

Bert Smith had a Citroen, and he drove swiftly and well.

If you are a Napoleon, you will play the game of power; if you are a Leonardo, you will play for knowledge; the stakes hardly matter.

“I don’t pretend to be a great painter,” he said. “I’m not a Michael Angelo, no, but I have something.”


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