This image-stabilising system for a hand-held camera, developed by cameraman Garrett Brown in 1973, offers (...)

Wouldn't it be more correct to write "the cameraman Garrett Brown"?

Is omitting the "the" generally acceptable (outside newspaper headlines)?


It is fine to omit the definite article here, and awkward to include it. The only reason to use the article would be to note that you are referring to a specific thing. In this case, since you are naming the cameraman, it is obvious that the specification has been made.

In fact, you're not really referring to "cameraman" at all: You are referring to Garrett Brown. "Cameraman" functions as an adjective in that case. And as such, you would not need to say the Garrett Brown unless there were other Garrett Browns who could be confused with this one, or else you wanted to call out Garrett Brown as being particularly important (for the benefit of readers who might not know how famous he was).

  • Thank you. I understand the rationale but I'm a bit surprised. – Glauber Rocha Mar 14 '11 at 16:32
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    +1 for "You are referring to Garrett Brown. Cameraman functions as an adjective in that case." Proper nouns are not preceded by articles in English. – b.roth Mar 14 '11 at 16:39
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    @Robusto: a quibble - I would not call it an adjective, as it fails almost all the syntactic tests for adjectives. It is however used as a modifier in the noun phrase, which is one of the two canonical uses of adjectives. – Colin Fine Mar 14 '11 at 17:46
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    @Bruno: "Proper nouns are not preceded by articles in English" ... except where they are. See the recent discussion at english.stackexchange.com/questions/15484/… - in particular the sub-thread about "the X that ... ". When a proper noun is restricted or identified further in the NP, the article is permitted. – Colin Fine Mar 14 '11 at 17:49
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    @GlauberRocha: The is not necessary there either. Most publications would simply render it as "British journalist Andrew Marr . . ." But the article could be used as well. – Robusto Oct 8 '14 at 11:02

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