(a) sexy/mum/fun Britney

VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
An interviewer asks Britney Spears:
-- Obviously, you're a multi-faceted character. We know sexy Britney and we know fun, mum Britney. Which Britney did you want to express with this underwear range?
a YT video

I thought that in contexts like this whe should use the indefinite article:confused: Thank you.
 
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    An interviewer asks Britney Spears:
    -- Obviously, you're a multi-faceted character. We know sexy Britney and we know fun, mum Britney. Which Britney did you want to express with this underwear range?
    a YT video

    I thought that in contexts like this whe should use the indefinite article:confused: Thank you.
    The interviewer seems to be using these adjectives as distinguishing "titles". The interviewer might even have imagined these in quotes "Sexy Britney" etc - the transcriber has no idea:)
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    But with two indefinite articles, wouldn't it sound as if there were two Britneys, I mean two different persons-- one a sexy woman another a fun mum? Though that doesn't go with the context.
    Thanks.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    But with two indefinite articles, wouldn't it sound as if there were two Britneys, I mean two different persons-- one a sexy woman another a fun mum?
    Thanks.
    There's a smart JulianStuart, after morning coffee; there's a jokey JulianStuart, after a lunchtime glass or two of IPA and a sleepy JulianStuart a couple of hours after that. All distinguishable versions of one person :)
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    There's a smart JulianStuart, after morning coffee; there's a jokey JulianStuart, after a lunchtime glass or two of IPA and a sleepy JulianStuart a couple of hours after that. All distinguishable versions of one person :)
    Yes, that's what I meant:D I think it's similar to the OP. Sometimes Brithen is sexy, sometimes she is fun, etc. (I don't know how about "mum" though)

    But there's an instance of "THE + adj + name", like here:
    The is used in the same way as when you use an adjective with a proper noun. It tells you that we are talking about a particular version of this person: the young John Smith, the elder John Smith, the decrepit John Smith. 'Late' there just means 'recently deceased'.
    There is only one verison of the young/elder/late John Smith.
    So, "a" in the OP would fit better than "that" or "zero article", am I right?
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Yes, that's what I meant:D I think it's similar to the OP. Sometimes Brithen is sexy, sometimes she is fun, etc. (I don't know how about "mum" though)

    But there's an instance of "THE + adj + name", like here:

    There is only one verison of the young/elder/late John Smith.
    So, "a" in the OP would fit better than "that" or "zero article", am I right?
    Reread my post :) If the interviewer is thinking "Sexy Britney" there's no need for an article and adding a wouldn't be "better". Similarly "Jokey JS" would not need an article.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Reread my post :) If the interviewer is thinking "Sexy Britney" there's no need for an article and adding a wouldn't be "better". Similarly "Jokey JS" would not need an article.
    Ok:), but in your examples in #6 you would not use THE instead of A, and so in the OP, A would fit better than THE, do I correctly understand?
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Once again Vic, article choice is the speaker's. All three article options work in the OP, and none is "better" than the others. Sometimes article choice tells us something but most of the time it doesn't, and there is simply nothing to infer. "Sexy Britney", "a sexy Britney" and "the sexy Britney" all work equally well and the speaker is free to use whatever takes their fancy. Native speakers understand precisely the same thing in all three cases, despite the different perspective each has, because they are all effectively figures of speech anyway.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Ok:), but in your examples in #6 you would not use THE instead of A, and so in the OP, A would fit better than THE, do I correctly understand?
    I could have used "the jokey JS" - no difference - the specific one who cracks jokes. Using a just mentions one of those on a (not necessarily complete) list. Once again, the "rules" are flexible:)
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Julian can tell us which one he had in mind but note that we can't tell simply from his words which version he was thinking of. I keep hammering on at this because you show no sign of grasping it.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    we can't tell simply from his words which version he was thinking of
    Since Julian said nobody implied there was more than one jokey he, I think he meant we can.:D
    I keep hammering on at this because you show no sign of grasping it.
    Sorry, but what are you suggesting? That I not ask questions about articles anymore because we never know what a speaker has in mind when using a/the/-- ?:confused:
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    :D:D:D
    What a delightful and amusing thread. I don't know about 'mum', except it's a British term for 'mother' and the American is 'mom'.
    As a title it would be 'Mom Britney'. "We know about 'Sexy Britney', 'Crazy Britney', 'Lewd & Lascivious Britney', 'Mom Britney', 'Talented Singer Britney' ... ".

    If the adjective is treated as a title the article is not used. "Horrid Henry's Horrible History of England". It might be worth mentioning that if there's doubt about the validity of the attribute, a subjective opinion, those adjectives might themselves take apostrophes.

    I'm not sure how one would use inverted comma punctuation to mean 'so-called', or express the writer's sarcasm or disagreement, double or single. Would one write '"Talented Singer" Britney Spears, appeared last night in the first of her Las Vegas shows', or ""Talented" singer, Britney Spears appeared ... ". Maybe if one does that, the dubious attribute should be within single apostrophes within a quoted sentence.
    He wrote that "the 'talented' singer made a successful debut in."

    Perhaps this is a pointless or too complicated line of thought. I'd only be questioning
    'talented', 'sexy', and 'mom' of the attributes I mentioned.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Since Julian said nobody implied there was more than one jokey he, I think he meant we can.:D

    Sorry, but what are you suggesting? That I not ask questions about articles anymore because we never know what a speaker has in mind when using a/the/-- ?:confused:
    It's fine to ask but don't expect that there is always one single correct answer. You have to allow for the possibility that some contexts allow for a definite article, an indefinite article and no article -- all three options.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    That I not ask questions about articles anymore because we never know what a speaker has in mind when using a/the]
    Yes, that pretty well sums it up in a general way.
    Language is rather like life: there comes a point when there's no discernable sense.
     
    Last edited:

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    I'm not sure how one would use inverted comma punctuation to mean 'so-called', or express the writer's sarcasm or disagreement, double or single. Would one write '"Talented Singer" Britney Spears, appeared last night in the first of her Las Vegas shows', or ""Talented" singer, Britney Spears appeared ... ". Maybe if one does that, the dubious attribute should be within single apostrophes within a quoted sentence.
    Or, if I had to quote the whole phrase and at the same time use the "sarcastic" quotes, I could use Italic: "Talented Singer" Britney Spears, appeared last night in the first of her Las Vegas shows, maybe...
    Yes, that pretty well sums it up in a general way.
    :eek:Why? You have just said "What a delightful and amusing thread". Or did you mean "What a "delightful" and "amusing" thread"?:D
    don't expect that there is always one single correct answer
    That's why I suggested:
    So, "a" in the OP would fit better than "that" or "zero article", am I right?
    in your examples in #6 you would not use THE instead of A, and so in the OP, A would fit better than THE, do I correctly understand?
    .. instead of "A is correct and THE is not":D, let alone cases where there is indeed only one correct choice of an article. So I'm going to keep asking until I can distinquish them,:)

    Thank you, all !
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    .. in your examples in #6 you would not use THE instead of A, and so in the OP, A would fit better than THE, do I correctly understand?
    ..instead of "A is correct and THE is not":D, let alone cases where there is indeed only one correct choice of an article. So I'm going to keep asking until I can distinquish them,:)
    Thank you, all !
    But I did give you an example of using the.
    If you persist in forcing situations where you have to be right asserting one is better than another in the face of contradictions from native speakers, and by trying to fit everything into black and white rules where natives routinely use gray (or even don't distinguish any difference), you will antagonize more and more of those trying to help you. Get with it and get flexible:D
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Julian wrote
    It's fine to ask but don't expect that there is always one single correct answer. You have to allow for the possibility that some contexts allow for a definite article, an indefinite article and no article -- all three options.
    I couldn't agree more with Julian, and others, but at the same time I can understand the frustration of certain types of learner. By 'certain types' I mean very proficient users, like yourself, with marked analytical tendencies.

    There's a lot of cross-posting going on in this thread, and it takes me so long to compose my posts on language-related as well as (otherwise) very complicated issues of usage, which is arguably 'The Most Important' issue of all. Usually, by the time I am ready to post, my comments are one way or another redundant.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    with marked analytical tendencies
    Using articles, to me, is an analytic matter itself in English. :) Unlike anything else -- tenses, verb forms, moods, phrasal verbs, ing-words, etc. I often feel which article to choose without thinking much. But would I if I did not ask those questions about them?...
     
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