As the/a famous saying goes, dogs are man’s best friend

Wanbicoi

Senior Member
Vietnam
Thanks for reading my post.

Sample examples:
As the/a famous saying goes, dogs are man’s best friend

Question:

I would choose 'a' since it's the first time we mention it, but they use 'the' in the original text.
Which one would you pick and why?

Thanks a lot for any comments, corrections or suggestions
 
  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    'The' is correct. The writer is referring to one specific famous saying (which he then quotes).

    He's not just saying 'think of any famous quote that you know' - he only means this one.
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I agree with Chez, but there's some flexibility as far as which article to use in that kind of situation. We usually say, for instance, "as a wise woman once said..."
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    You can use "a" in certain circumstances:

    There is a well-known saying about dogs being man's best friend.

    The well-known saying that dogs are a man's best friend.



    For some reason, which I cannot really identify, "famous" feels wrong to me. I would use "well-known".
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    "a" is used to introduce new information. But if it's a saying "everybody" already knows it's not new information. You don't have to explain it to anyone, you are just referring to it. If you don't think it's famous enough for everyone to know, then you should probably use "a". Either way, you see there is no "right" answer, because it's based on a judgment by the speaker of the sentence. Different speakers might have different opinions.
     
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