Generally no article is used with names of persons.
There was a letter from Susan inviting me to a party.
I did not see Charles Strickland for several weeks
1. No article is used:
· if names of persons are modified by such descriptive attributes as little, old, young, dear, poor, honest
Young Jameson, standing by the little piano, listened with his dim smile.
When dear old Emily went back to town after staying with them for a fortnight, she sent the children a doll's house.
· with the names of members of a family, such as Mother, Father, Aunt, Uncle, Grandmother, Grandfather, Baby, Nurse, Cook when they are treated as proper names by the members of that family. In this case such nouns are usually written with a capital letter.
"How nice that you've come!" she said. "Mother is still resting, but she will be down soon."
She went into the hall: "Is Nurse back?”
· with nouns denoting military ranks and titles such as academician, professor, doctor (both a profession and a title), count, lord, etc. followed by names of persons do not take the article. In such cases only the proper noun is stressed: Colonel' Brown, Doctor' Strong.
However, both the definite and the indefinite articles may be occasionally found with names of persons.
2. The definite article is used:
· With a name in the plural to indicate the whole family.
The Elliots were intelligent people.
He didn't even know the Browns had a daughter.
· with a name modified by a particularizing attribute,
Is he the Jones who is a writer?
Now she was more like the Julia of their first years of marriage.
· with a name modified by a descriptive attribute or appositive noun to describe a person and it’s job or to indicate a permanent quality of the person: the artist William Turner, the wonderful actor Harrison Ford, the late (=dead) Buddy Holly.
The astonished Tom could not say a word.
· in certain titles: the Reverend John Collins, the Prince of Wales (but Prince Charles), the Duke of Westminster, the Countess of Harewood.
· with names of people to mean someone famous. In this case the definite article should be stressed and pronounced /ði/.
”I met Paul McCartney the other day.” “You mean the Paul McCartney?”
· in the descriptive names of some monarchs, in special names, titles, and epithets: William the Conqueror, Ivan the Terrible, Alfred the Great.
3. The indefinite article is used:
· to indicate that one member of a family is meant.
I have often wondered if Arthur was really a Burton.
· with a name modified by a descriptive attribute when it is the centre of communication in the sentence.
He was met at the door by an angry Isabel, who demanded to know what he meant by coming home at that hour.
· when a name is preceded by Mr, Mrs or Mis's it may be used to denote “a certain”, or “someone called…”or when you don’t know the person yourself.
He was a lawyer, a Mr Reid from Melbourne.
I heard it from a certain Mr. Brown.
There’s a Dr Kenneth Perch on the phone. (= I haven’t heard of him before)
Note: Sometimes, owing to a change of meaning, names of persons become countable nouns indicating concrete objects. The articles with such nouns are used in accordance with the general rules for countable nouns. Such nouns usually indicate:
a) a product or a work by someone.
Lanny has sold them an especially fine Goya.
He wanted to know how much a Binick cost.
There was a rack of books and among them he saw a Hemingway.
b) typical features associated with a well-known name.
She felt like an Alice in Wonderland.
Mozart was called the Raphael of music.
You are quite a Monte Cristo.
Jane plays tennis well, but she’ll never be a Steffi Graf.
4. The use of articles with nouns modified by proper nouns.
· If a noun is modified by a proper noun in the genitive case no article is used.
I met Robert's father.
· À noun modified by a proper noun in the common case is used with the definite article.