The Use of Articles with Nouns in Apposition and with Predicative Nouns
1. As a rule nouns used predicatively or in apposition take the indefinite article. Nouns in the plural have no article.
He is a teacher.
I’m sure you know Alfred Hard, a professor at London University.
They are good friends.
2. The definite article serves to show that the speaker or writer is referring to a definite person or thing. It is also used when the noun is modified by a limiting attribute.
Philip had been the hero of his childhood.
Then Jack, the most impudent person there, interrupted me.
“My brother George is the only relation I have,” said Sir Henry.
Monday, the day of our departure, was cold and rainy.
The noun in this case usually has an of-phrase attribute.
3. When a noun used predicatively or in apposition denotes a unique position (rank, state, post or occupation) it is used either with the definite article or without any article:
Mr Johnson, Superintendent of the school, received me in his office.
Mike Slattery was chairman of a great publishing firm.
Mr Johns was the leader of our group.
I talked to Mr Pyke, the assistant director of the firm.
4. Nouns used predicatively or in apposition are used either with the definite article or without any article when they denote a relationship and stress is laid on the social position of the person expressed by the subject:
Mrs Nelson was wife of the manager of the firm.
She was the wife of a local tradesman.
Then I was introduced to Charles March, the nephew of our host.
Note With nouns son and daughter used predicatively and in apposition the following three variants are possible:
· She is the daughter of a doctor. (mere relationship is expressed)
· She is a daughter of a doctor. (the idea that the doctor has more than one daughter is expressed)
· She is daughter of a doctor. (the social position of the person in question is described)
5. When predicative nouns serve to denote a certain characteristic of the person indicated by the subject they are used without any article. The noun predicative is usually followed by the adverb enough.
She was child enough to feel sorry about the loss of the toy.
He was fool enough to believe that.
6. Predicative nouns after the link-verbs to turn, to go take no article. The verb to take indicates a change of occupation or allegiance. The verb to go denotes change of political allegiance.
He turned sailor.
7. Appositive nouns denoting titles (ranks, posts) are used without any article when they precede personal names:
Dr. Ross, President Roosevelt, Lord Byron, Princess Margaret, Sir Charles, Prof. Drake, Queen Elizabeth, Colonel Casey, Judge Parker, Lady Quern
Note1 Foreign titles, however, require the definite article before personal names:
the Emperor Napoleon, the Czar Peter
Note 2 It is important to remember that when titles are not followed by a personal name articles are used:
He is a professor.
The professor is going to give a public lecture.
8. Appositive nouns denoting family relations take no article before personal names: Aunt Agatha, Cousin George, Uncle Tom
9. Other appositive nouns take the definite article when used before personal names:
the painter Hogarth, the critic Hudson, the girl Martha, the student Jones, the Republican leader Foster, the pianist Carter
10. A frequent use of this kind of apposition is found with names of books, films and with scientific terms:
the novel "War and Peace", the film "Lady Hamilton", the verb "to be", the term "heavy water"