I recently read a famous motivational quote :

"If you want to shine like a sun, burn like a sun"

As per my knowledge here the usage of article a is completely wrong, because there is only one sun, ahh! at least for us.

Please tell me whether it is right to say like this or the quote is wrong.

  • 3
    Can't help with grammar but astronomically, there is more than one sun. However, how is it motivational to burn like a sun? radiate like a sun maybe... but burn? Dec 30, 2019 at 11:50
  • @Jalene I knew someone is going to point out that there are more than one suns and that is why I proactively mentioned in the question "at least for us" -it is one. Now coming to burning like sun it is referred to hard work- Say, you will have to burn (work hard) if you want to shine (achieve success) .
    – Shreekant
    Dec 30, 2019 at 12:03
  • Say "as far as I know", not "as per my knowledge".
    – tchrist
    Dec 30, 2019 at 12:39
  • @tchrist hey thank you for the correction. But could you please tell me what is the difference. I am little bit weak in English
    – Shreekant
    Dec 30, 2019 at 12:40
  • Not all dictionaries give the sense (1b) that Merriam-Webster quite rightly does: << sun noun 1a often capitalized : the luminous celestial body around which the earth and other planets revolve ... 1b: a celestial body like the sun: [a] star >>. This sense is often literary / poetic; it is often not the chosen sense, as ambiguity might arise. But ELU expects signs of reasonable research, even a link to say Lexico saying 'they don't have a relevant definition'. Dec 30, 2019 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


Sun in Merriam-Webster means

1 a often capitalized : the luminous celestial body around which the earth and other planets revolve, from which they receive heat and light, which is composed mainly of hydrogen and helium, and which has a mean distance from earth of about 93,000,000 miles (150,000,000 kilometers), a linear diameter of 864,000 miles (1,390,000 kilometers), and a mass 332,000 times greater than earth

b : a celestial body like the sun : STAR

Under sense 1b it can mean any star and so "a sun" is fine.

Sense 3 is the same dictionary is

3 : one resembling the sun (as in warmth or brilliance)

So the quotation makes sense (no pun intended).

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