Suppose you want to describe a stranger in the distance to a friend standing next to you. The stranger wears a green shirt. Which is the best way to describe her?

  1. Look at that girl in a green shirt
  2. Look at that girl in green shirt
  3. Look at that girl with a green shirt
  4. Look at that girl with green shirt

She also wears a yellow skirt - Can you say: Look at that girl in a green shirt and a yellow skirt? Why should you drop "a" from "green skirt" in this case?

closed as off-topic by Chenmunka, Nicole, phenry, Drew, oerkelens Mar 20 '15 at 11:56

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  • How could you say noun without article? – tchrist Mar 18 '15 at 6:12
  • @anonymous If so, then we already get 17 conjunction-reduction sentences a day. – tchrist Mar 18 '15 at 6:17
  • 1
    This question would probably receive a better reception at ell.stackexchange.com, our sister site for people learning English. – phenry Mar 18 '15 at 19:52

In the example provided, "girl" is modified by the definite pronoun that. So if you are going to use any pronoun to refer to the shirt, it sounds better to use a definite pronoun:

Look at that girl in the green shirt or Look at that girl with the green shirt.

The alternates sans pronoun, while grammatical, sound better if they were a line of poetry. But generally nobody speaks that way.

Adding the yellow skirt, it's fine to drop the pronoun for the latter item:

Look at that girl in the green shirt and yellow skirt.

  • During my online research, I saw cases of both "someone in a greet shirt" and "someone in green shirt." When do you drop the indefinite article if you do? Also, I read a woman commenting on her group picture, "the girl with green shirt is me." Was she incorrect with her grammar? – Kaimei Nishimoto Mar 19 '15 at 6:40
  • yes, she should have said, "the girl with the green shirt is me". (alternatively, "the girl in the green shirt is me", "the girl in green", "the girl wearing green", etc.) beware things you read online (including this). lastly, keep in mind who is writing: a native speaker, or an esl student. – Erich Mar 19 '15 at 6:43

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