I'm accomplice to a kidnapping.

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amateurr

Senior Member
Russian
Betty: "You know I defended you to the police. I'm a part of this now. I'm accomplice to a kidnapping."

Could you tell me why there's no the article "an" before "accomplice"?

Thanks!
 
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Betty: "You know I defended you to the police. I'm a part of this now. I'm accomplice to a kidnapping."

    Could you tell me why there's no the article "an" before "accomplice"?
    Your question presupposes that the expression is standard English. It is not, as far as I know.
     

    amateurr

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I guess I should've asked this question this way then. Why is it "I'm accomplice to a kidnapping." instead of "I'm an accomplice to a kidnapping." since "accomplish is a noun we usually put an article, right? Besides, this is not one of those "unique" words like president.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I wonder if it's related to the way trials are reported. Sometimes Defendant or Prisoner is used like a quasi-proper name: 'Prisoner stated that he found the watch in the street'. The usage might have spread to witness and accomplice.
     

    thomasf

    New Member
    English - Southern US
    I just wanted to offer my thoughts on the phrase.

    I've certainly heard this usage in the past as well as the similar, "He was witness to the crime." It's incorrect but it almost sounds correct.

    Looking at the etymology of accomplice, it seems it comes from the merger of "a complice" which means the same thing. Thus, accomplice contains its own article. Most people say "an accomplice," but perhaps this is the motivation behind this usage.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I've certainly heard this usage in the past as well as the similar, "He was witness to the crime." It's incorrect but it almost sounds correct.
    I would guess that "to be accomplice to" (which, if googled, is undoubtedly much less common than "to be an accomplice to) is modelled on the normal "to be witness to".

    I prefer "an accomplice", but the problem with such phrases is that is you see them or repeat them often enough, they begin to sound right.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Betty: "You know I defended you to the police. I'm a part of this now. I'm accomplice to a kidnapping."

    Could you tell me why there's no the article "an" before "accomplice"?

    Thanks!
    I'm surprised that others think this use of accomplice without an article to be incorrect. When I saw the title of the post, nothing about it struck me as at all odd.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think we often omit the article with nouns indicating a person's function.

    I was mayor of this town.
    He is cobbler to the king.
    She was accomplice to the crime.
    He acted as witness.
    Ford is thus the only person who served as president and vice president without having been elected to either office.
    He has been chairman since August.
    When I was a lad I served a term As office boy to an Attorney's firm. http://www.leoslyrics.com/listlyrics.php;jsessionid=F0E73DA612F23B96522F613DC5A47AD3?hid=Ct2xWRYwR0Q%3D
     
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