<a> Mr. (name of person)

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Senior Member
There is a sentence in Martin Amis's novel "Lionel Asbo: State of England": "On the other hand, Squeers Free had in its staff room an exceptional Learning Mentor--a Mr. Vincent Tigg." I don't understand why "a" precedes "Mr. Vincent Tigg." Would it be more natural if there is no article? Thank you.
  • sandpiperlily

    Senior Member
    Yes, an article before a name is definitely unusual, but you do see it from time to time to emphasize that the person being named is not known to the speaker or is being newly introduced to the reader. In this example I'm guessing the latter is the explanation.

    An example for the former might be, say, in a hospital setting where the doctor goes out into the waiting room to meet the family of her patient for the first time: "Is there a Mr. Vincent Tigg here?" Then once Mr. Tigg identifies himself, "Good to meet you, Mr. Tigg, I have some news about your wife..."


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I agree with sandpiperlily. You might want to think of this as a shorter version of 'a certain Mr Vincent Tigg'.

    From the Random House Dictionary:
    6. (used before a person or thing that is known in the mind of the speaker or writer, but that is being introduced to the listener): A certain Mr. Smith has been trying to meet you.
    From Collins:
    3. named but not known: he had written to a certain Mrs Smith

    Ground Zero

    Senior Member
    [Threads merged at this point. DonnyB - moderator]

    ... run by the headmaster Mr Darlington, a Mr Blenkins who taught mathematics, Miss Gillett who taught drawing and music of a Moody and Sankey variety, and ...

    Why is there a a?
    did the author intend to imply that there is another teacher whose last name is also Blenkins?
    Last edited by a moderator:


    Senior Member
    In this context, a Mr. Blenkins expresses the idea that the narrator wasn't very close to Mr. Blenkins or didn't know much about him. By using a Mr. Blenkins, the narrator suggests a certain emotional or psychological distance from Mr. Blenkins.
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