Babel was directed by a/the Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez in 2006.

sb70012

Senior Member
Azerbaijani/Persian
Active voice: Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez directed Babel in 2006.
Passive voice: Babel was directed by Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez in 2006.

Hello,
In the passive voice do I need to add "a" or "the" between the "by" and "Mexican"?

I mean => Babel was directed by a/the Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez in 2006.:confused:


Thank you.
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Your original sentence is fine.

    To use "a" appears to express a mild surprise that the director should be Mexican, and might require additional punctuation. Using "the" suggests that he is particularly associated with being Mexican. No article is neutral in tone. He is a filmmaker who happens to be Mexican.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    As a headline or journalistic style, it is fine as it is. Otherwise, it should have "the". Passive voice has nothing to do with it.
    He is the Mexican film director Alejandro Gonzales. :tick:
    The Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzales directed Babel. :tick:
     

    sb70012

    Senior Member
    Azerbaijani/Persian
    Thank you but I couldn't understand your explanations very well. I wish you could explain in a more simple way.

    Thank you very much.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I disagree with Myridon's post, except for the part about the passive voice making no difference.

    The following are both fine:
    1. Alejandro Gonzalez directed Babel in 2006.
    2. Babel was directed by Alejandro Gonzalez in 2006.​

    It is common (at least in BrE; perhaps AmE is different), to use roles and job titles before a person's name without an article, where the person's name is the head noun:
    3. Filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez directed Babel in 2006.
    4. Babel was directed by filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez in 2006.​

    However, if the role or job title is more important than the person's name, this becomes the head noun and so needs an article, almost always the definite article since you are referring to a particular person:
    5. The filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez directed Babel in 2006.
    6. Babel was directed by the filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez in 2006.​

    You can add "Mexican" to any of the sentences (3) - (6):
    7. Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez directed Babel in 2006.
    8. Babel was directed by Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez in 2006.
    9. The Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez directed Babel in 2006.
    10. Babel was directed by the Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez in 2006.​
    In (7) and (8), there is no change in emphasis; Alejandro Gonzalez is still the head noun, and Mexican and filmmaker are words used to describe him. In (9) and (10), the important thing changes from "filmmaker" to "Mexican filmmaker", placing some emphasis on his being Mexican.

    As I said, the article in (5), (6), (9) and (10) is usually "the", but one purpose of the indefinite article is to express surprise or doubt, and it could be used here, although it gives a tone of condescension: A Mexican filmmaker, as unlikely as that may seem.
     
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