Here are two examples:

  1. Nobody creates post-apocalyptic flicks better than George Miller, the director of the Mad Max series.

Is the necessary before director, and can it be omitted?

  1. The business was doing great, and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, confirmed the rumors.

Can we omit an article before CEO or there needs to be placed the?

  • Yes, you can. "Director" and "CEO" are called 'bare-role' NPs -- bare in the sense of lacking a determiner which would be required elsewhere. They denote some kind of a role, office or position. Cf. also "They elected him president"; "Ed became managing director"; "Who wants to be secretary?"
    – BillJ
    Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 11:50
  • An interesting point: If you omit the determiner, the resultant bare-role NP would no longer be an appositive modifier, but simply an ascriptive NP supplement, since the absence of a determiner would render it unable to stand alone in place of the whole NP.
    – BillJ
    Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 12:28
  • 2
    The article is optional in front of director but it's not optional in front of Mad Max series. You should edit your question to insert the word in that location. Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 15:47
  • 2
    FYI, with or without the initial article "the director" you still need an article for "of the Mad Max series". Including this one, most Questions about articles are better served over at English Language Learners. Commented Dec 19, 2018 at 0:50

3 Answers 3


Interesting question.

I believe that in most cases (including both your cases) either is possible, and there is no significant difference in meaning, but there is a subtle difference in connotation.

If you omit the article, you are effectively using the role as a title, rather than a description.

Looking on the iWeb corpus, ", CEO of" has 54341 instances, while ", the CEO of" has 6775; and ", president of" has 98275, against 14398 for ", the president of".

Contrast that with something that is rarely used as a title: ", inventor of" has 1668, while ", the inventor of" has 1916.


Yes, you can omit that "the", since you are describing the person more accurately, in this case in the form of a title. An example:

Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith

(from List of titles and honours of Elizabeth II, Wikipedia)

You do however need an article before "Mad Max series".


The determiner 'the' is pretty much just used as a pointer.

Generally speaking, categories of things (like CEOs) don't require "the". 'The' is a pointer that shows you one or specific members of a group, or it "crowns" something or someone as unique. Using 'the' works, but since they're bare-role noun phrases (i.e. a group of things) with one form (a CEO) it isn't required.

This is also known as the 'zero article'.

Do you like cheese?

Do you like the cheese?

Which as I said before, is showing one member of a group.


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