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This question already has an answer here:

I wonder if we can put "A" before a proper noun. Here's an example I found on Google:

As a Vietnam veteran I remembered that it was 16 years after my tour in Vietnam.

I wish to know why the author use "A" before "Vietnam." Thanks.

marked as duplicate by bookmanu, Mitch, AmE speaker, jimm101, J. Taylor Sep 18 '18 at 20:29

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  • He is referring to himself as one of (many) other Vietnam veterans. "a"/"an" are indefinite articles. Please see english.stackexchange.com/questions/152/… – bookmanu Sep 17 '18 at 16:07
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    The first word in "Vietnam veteran" is what some call a noun adjunct or an attributive noun. It acts like an adjective – Mari-Lou A Sep 17 '18 at 16:07
  • @Mitch Quite right. I got ahead of myself:$ – bookmanu Sep 17 '18 at 19:24
  • No prob. comments deleted – Mitch Sep 17 '18 at 20:04
  • He could equally have said 'a veteran of the Vietnam war'. – Kate Bunting Sep 18 '18 at 8:43
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In this case Vietnam is descriptive, sometimes called 'a restrictive appositive' or, better, a 'noun adjunct.'(thanks Mari-Lou A) which includes appositives and attributives.

Here are some other examples:

A George I Penny.
An Easter Island statue.
A Burns supper with a piper and haggis.

It is better to think of the "A" going with "veteran" and the descriptor coming in between the two.

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    I think you intended to say attribution, not apposition; it's the difference between the movie theater and the movie Star Wars. – choster Sep 17 '18 at 16:13

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