Sometimes (or always) article “the” is used before names when we add adjectives to them. For instance, many people would say: “The legendary Tal (renowned chess player) was distinguished for his aggressive style especially with white pieces”. I wonder what necessitates “the” here and are there exceptions in using article “the” in such situations. For instance, can we say: “The villager Michael Adams has had heavy crop this year”. Can you explain rules for this.
Could I suggest you go to the start of the site and have a look at a piece I’ve written on the articles under esl lessons and in the index you will find ‘the’ vs. ‘a/an’. This gives examples of when you use the articles. I am copying your question here and have made some changes in CAPITAL LETTERS:
Sometimes (or always) THE article “the” is used before names when we add adjectives to them. For instance, many people would say: “The legendary Tal (renowned chess player) was distinguished for his aggressive style especially with white pieces”. I wonder what necessitates “the” here and are there exceptions in using THE article “the” in such situations. For instance, can we say: “The villager Michael Adams has had A heavy crop this year”. Can you explain rules for this.
When you particularise a noun such like this: The great singer Caruso, you are defining him as different from other singers. As you will see I have added ‘the’ in your text because you are defining one article: THE DEFINITE ARTICLE ‘THE’ When you are talking in general you use the indefinite article and call it A heavy crop.
Have a look at what I’ve written in the esl lessons section and let me know if it helps.
Thank you very much for your reply and suggestion, as well as your corrections in my post, which I really appreciate very much. To tell the truth, I looked at your ‘the’ vs. ‘a/an’ lesson before posting my previous message but I thought it said only what I already knew. I think there is something more that I want to know.
I understand how tricky these articles are and I remember one of my teachers in the Swan School of English in Oxford saying jokingly: “God created articles so that we, English teachers, have job”.
First, about THE article “the”. I missed it because I thought it did not need any, as in cases when we say “the fifth round” and “round 5” [without the article “the”]. However, after your correction I will never miss it again.
Second, about my question. When I worked as journalist my editors used to write “the prosecutor Adil Ismayilov”, “Russian cochairman Nikolay Gribkov”, “PFAP [political party] member Yusif Aliyev” and “Iranian citizen Mohammed Ismayili”. If they want to define Adil Ismayilov as prosecutor and use “the”, then why don’t they use the same article for Nikolay Gribkov, who is the Russian cochairman. For instance, would you say “Liberal Party member Rowhan Atkinson” with defining article or without? Do you think that English learners need a rule for such situations? Sorry, if I do not understand something but if you have further explanation then I would be greatful to read them.
Thanks for your interesting question: how to distinguish between THE conservative Prime Minister, Charlie Brown and Conservative Prime Minister, Charlie Brown. I think that sums up the point you are making.
In general tems I would say that if you had a list of people with titles, you would probably begin with the article THE for the first and then drop it for the others as;
Among those present were THE Swedish Ambassador SDT, Russian Ambassador TYE, French delegate YUR, … and so on.
To go back to specifics and my first sentence, the difference to me is that THe Conservative Prime Minister, C B could indicate you introducing this person for the first time either literally as in ‘Ladies and gentlemen it is my pleasure to introduce THE Conservative …’ or for the first time in describing what he’s done or what you think about him. You would then drop the article and when this person is mentioned in the course of a discussion along with others and we already know who they are and they have been mentioned before
I’ll continue with this a bit later as present business prevents me at the moment.
To continue with my comments on the articles. Shortly after I’d sent my last note to you I heard a news report, which I think illustrates the point I was trying to make. The name of the Finance Minister or Chancellor in the Uk is Gordon Brown. On the news report the newsreader read: Chancellor Gordon Brown today said …’ Now if I was reporting what he said to you as someone not in the Uk and who would not necessarily know either the job or the name of this person, I would say: The Chancellor, Gordon Brown today said …’
I hope this throws a little light on the qustion you raised.
Thank you very much for your clear explanation, Alan. I think I am starting to understand some points that were not clear to me before.
By the way, in the organization where I worked, we had a rule about using titles with names. The rule was that we used commas with the article “the” and no articles if we did not use commas: the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, … or Prime Minister Gordon Brown. But I know that this is just an editorial rule of that organization, not the English language.
Anyway, thank you again and have a nice day.
You’re absolutely right about the comma - it was me being lazy! and I’ve now inserted it