In the sentence below, which form is good and why?

We met AN / THE / NO ARTICLE American actor Robert De Niro.

closed as off-topic by Mari-Lou A, Bread, BladorthinTheGrey, J. Taylor, curiousdannii May 22 '18 at 4:52

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  • Why do I need the definite article in: "Yesterday I met the plumber" but not for "Yesterday, I met an actor" Why is no article needed in: "Yesterday I met Queen Elizabeth and her granddaughter-in-law Meghan Markle" but the article is used in: "I met the British Queen yesterday" and "Yesterday I met the actor, Robert De Niro" Try to work it out for yourself :) – Mari-Lou A May 20 '18 at 20:20
  • We met the American actor Robert De Niro, when we were in NY.

The rule here is: there is only one, so "the" is used.

Another rule:

  • We met an American actor, Robert De Niro, when we were in NY.

[as opposed to a Russian playwright, or a French politician, or a Brazilian surfer or a StackExchange user].

That said: people do write and/or say: We met American actor Robert De Niro when we ate at his restaurant in Soho. And, Colin Fine has been mentioned, no article is also headlinese.

Conclusion: It all depends on what you are saying and sometimes to whom.

  • Because there is a name. But: Emmeline got it right, she went to see the Queen: voetica.com/voetica.php?collection=3&poet=685&poem=3333 I went to see John Smith. – Lambie May 20 '18 at 19:58
  • Queen Elizabeth is a name, like John Smith or Felicity Tatterlee. – Lambie May 20 '18 at 19:59
  • Nope. I met the actor Robert de Niro= article + noun + name. – Lambie May 20 '18 at 20:01
  • I have covered that. – Lambie May 20 '18 at 20:04
  • I wanted to help you write a better answer. But if you don't care...or you take offense. I'll delete my comments. – Mari-Lou A May 20 '18 at 20:09

The only likely possibility is "the".

"An" is grammatical, but would imply that either you'd never heard of Robert de Niro, or that you expected your hearer not to have heard of him.

The article would not normally be omitted, except in headlinese.


"We met American actor RDN" - possibly part of a list: "We met starlet XYZ, singer/songwriter ABC ...."

"We met an American actor, RDN" - only grammatical with the comma. "American actor RDN" is not one noun phrase, but two: - The comma missing would indicate that you were introduced to someone you could not make sense of at all, and are thus repeating the introduction verbatim: "We met a Lieutenant Dan"

"We met the American actor RDN" - here, "American actor" describes RDN, as in "we met the hilarious RDN" - it's mostly like the first usage, but the "the" gets old soon, so if there are a lot of these sentences, one might start dropping the "the".

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