Someone asked me to translate a sentence from Russian and I couldn't decide which of the two variants is correct: "Call me the devil" or "Call me devil". I am aware that there are several meanings of the word, apart from "the Chrtistian" Devil, but they are not very clear to me. Could someone explain, which one is correct, and if both, what is the difference in meaning?
There is a disambiguation at Wikipedia's Devil (disambiguation) which may be of help. It sends you four possible directions:
- Devil in Christianity
- Folk devil
If what is intended is either of the first two, you might consider translating the phrase as
Call me the Devil
Note the capitalization and use of the definite article ("the"). It would be used when someone is being quite evil or perhaps is personifying evil. An example would be, "Yes, I got kids hooked on opioids. Call me the Devil."
If what is intended is either of the latter two, you might consider translating the phrase as
Call me a devil
Note that it is not capitalized and takes an indefinite article ("a"). This is milder, since one is compared to one of many demons. An example would be, "Yes, I introduced them to each other and privately told each of them beforehand that the other was hard of hearing. That's why they're yelling at each other. Call me a devil."