A + Single + Man??

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Hello friends,
How can this be possible to say

A SINGLE MAN is unable to bring revolution.

when ARTICLE "A" itself means SINGLE then how can ARTICLE be used with SINGLE.??

If it is possible to use article with SINGLE then kindly let me know.

  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    Hello, Wohlamhay. It sure is possible, even common, to use an article in front of the adjective "single": A single cup of tea, a single voice, etc.

    You are right that "a cup of tea" means the same as "a single cup of tea". But speakers and writers sometimes add the adjective "single" for emphasis.

    Articles can be hard to understand for those whose first language isn't English. Here's a link to a good explanation of the articles from a grammar website*. You might find it helpful.

    * Guide to Grammar and Writing. Sponsored by the Capital Community College Foundation.
    Last edited:

    Sparky Malarky

    English - US
    Maybe it will help to give you some examples.

    A man is unable to bring revolution. Does this mean that revolution is impossible? That a man can not achieve it but a woman can? That only God can bring about revolution?

    A single man is unable to bring revolution. Now the meaning is clear: one man cannot bring about a revolution all by himself.


    English - England
    1. a single man = a/any/one man on his own; a/any solitary man; a/any/one man by himself.
    2. a single man = an unmarried man


    Senior Member
    English - English
    A man is unable to bring revolution has two interpretations:
    It is a real-time "football commentary"-type observation on the activities of an unidentified man.
    It is a general statement about any given man, and may imply contrastivity: that other people, like women, can do it.

    Crucially it does not mean one man alone. The sentence may be talking about a man trying to start a revolution on his own, or a man who has rallied support. You can express one man alone as a single man as you have done or as one man is unable to bring revolution by himself/alone.

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think that a single man is inextricably mixed with the idea of an unmarried man, in way which doesn't apply to single cups of tea.

    To express this idea, I'd say something line One man alone is unable etc.
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