I am confused about when to omit an article before a noun for definition.

E.g., we would say "Today is Monday" but "He is an office boy"

Is it also correct to say "he is office boy"?

1 Answer 1


You do not use an article in the case of "Today is Monday" because Monday is a proper noun and does not need an article. If you use an article ("Today is a Monday") you are drawing attention to the fact that today is, of various Mondays, one of those Mondays, which is strange. No one needs to say that.

You use an article in "He is an office boy" because "office boy" is a noun and thus needs an article before it when combined with the linking verb "is".

Compare the following examples.

We are at McDonald's.

You do not need an article because McDonald's is a proper noun. You could, however, say "We are at a McDonald's" (to say that, of various McDonald'ses, we are at one of them ... although this is superfluous) or "We are at the McDonald's" (which implies that we are at the only McDonald's in the area) but these are optional.

We are at the restaurant.

You need an article because restaurant is not a proper noun.

Today is boring.

You do not need an article because boring is an adjective.

Today is a boring day.

You need an article because "a boring day" is a noun phrase. (Adding "day" makes all the difference, and suddenly "a" and "boring" become adjectives that modify that noun.)

Back to the original example. You could say "He is cute" or "He is smelly" or "He is popular" (all adjectives) without using an article. You could also say "He is Luke Skywalker" without using an article because Luke Skywalker is a proper noun.

But get a common noun and you have to use an article.

"He is the dumbest kid in the world." "He is a good dancer." "He is a chair."

"He is an office boy."

  • No one needs to say anything, but if they do, saying Today is a Monday is idiomatic and reasonable. Sep 23, 2018 at 6:34
  • As a native speaker, I have no idea why I said it would sound strange if someone said "Today is a Monday." People ask "Is today a Monday?" all the time, and then you'd say, "Yes, today is a Monday." I'm out of my mind. Pardon me.
    – Tommy Tran
    Sep 23, 2018 at 6:36
  • Today must be a Saturday, then. Or a Sunday.... Sep 23, 2018 at 6:43

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