Eton, [the] well-known English school

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Constan

Member
Russian
This is an exercise from a grammar book:

> He was a pupil at Eton, [the] well-known English school, and as his family could not afford to send him to university, he joined Indian Imperial Police.

I need to complete the text with a/an, the or zero article. And I wonder why the article is used here according to the answer keys.
 
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Because the school is identified - definite.

    "A" is also possible, but it might imply that the reader has not heard of Eton College before - which might seem condescending in some contexts!
     
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    Constan

    Member
    Russian
    Well, another example from here

    > James visited the Hermitage, a famous museum in St. Petersburg.

    For me the pattern looks the same. What is the difference?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    There are several heritage museums in St Petersburg.

    A/an = one example of a:

    Look! An eagle! = Look! One example of an eagle!
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    There are several famous English public schools, and I see no problem with using "a". It is exactly analogous to the Hermitage example, which is easily the most famous museum in St Petersburg.

    [cross-posted]
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    He was a pupil at the well-known English school Eton.
    He was a pupil at a well-known English school, Eton.
    He was a pupil at Eton, the well-known English school.
    He was a pupil at Eton, [which is] a well-known English school.

    All of these are possible.

    The real question is, if his parents could afford to send him to Eton, how come they couldn’t afford to send him to university? :D
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Maybe it was different in those days, but… “The annual cost of sending a child to Eton College is £40,700 in 2018/19, without bursaries or scholarships.”

    And Eton’s website says their scholarships consist of a reduction in fees of up to 10%. :eek:
     
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    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    There is only one famous (art) museum called the Hermitage. Anyone growing up in a Western culture as a well-educated person would be expected to know that. Just as they would be expected to know about the Eiffel Tower and the Parthenon.

    If you are writing for a Western audience you would generally say:
    James visited the Hermitage, the famous museum in St. Petersburg.

    You would say that because you would expect your audience to already know about it. It's already been introduced to them in the past as a famous museum so now you call it the famous museum.

    If you were writing for an audience from another part of the world and you were not certain they would have learned about the Hermitage before you mentioned it, then you would say:
    James visited the Hermitage, a famous museum in St. Petersburg.

    You are explaining what the Hermitage is for people hearing about it for the first time.

    [For people in the U.S., or at least parts of it, there are two famous Hermitages. The Hermitage is also the name of the estate of one of our former presidents, Andrew Jackson, and it's open to the public for tours and as a historical attraction. Children take class trips there.]
     
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