1

I am trying to write this sentence, but cannot decide if I should use a or the here:

It would be minutes before [a/the] slightly agitated Mrs. Smith finally finds him in the crowd.

If the should be used here, is there any scenario where a can be added before a specific person's name? I remember seeing such usage before, but my memory could be wrong.

2

Logically it seems as if it should be the.

But there is a well known literary device, perfectly idiomatic, which places the indefinite article in that position. One would use it where one was introducing for the first time, to the reader/listener that Mrs Smith was slightly agitated.

So if the reader is already aware that Mrs Smith is slightly agitated I would use the, if they do not I would use a.

1

The choice of article seems to me to reflect a different emphasis. "a slightly agitated Mrs. Smith" means, "Mrs. Smith, a slightly agitated person," while "the agitated Mrs. Smith" means the agitated version of Mrs. Smith in contrast to her normally cool and collected self.

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