in <an> unhappy Bogota

andrzejewskil

Member
Polish
"Zuniga is bodychecked as he romps up the right, by Hernanes. Quintero whips a ball towards the far post. Ramos gets a head on it, but sends it sailing miles over the bar. It'll be a goal kick, and the cheers can be heard all the way back in an unhappy Bogota."

What's the rule governing the usage of the AN article in the above example? Why not THE?


 
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    In this usage we can think of many different Bogotás - a happy one, a sad one, a miserable one, a festive one etc. - each describing a different (mood of the) city.
     

    Gerardo G.

    Senior Member
    Español colombiano
    I'm no expert but I'd say "the unhappy Bogotá" would mean it's always unhappy, while "an unhappy Bogotá" means it's currently unhappy but it isn't always : )
     

    Warsaw Will

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    I don't think it's quite that. When describing a city in more general terms we often use a/an, but when describing it in more specific terms, we use the, but I think this is more to do with being idiomatic than with strict grammatical rules:

    "She returned to a London that had seen better days"
    "Little remained of the London of her youth"

    Looking at some examples at Google Books might help:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=dischuffed&hl=en&biw=985&bih=616&source=lnt&tbs=cdr:1,cd_min:1/1/1900,cd_max:12/31/1970&tbm=bks#hl=en&q="a+London+that"&tbm=bks

    Then try changing 'a' to 'the'.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    In this usage we can think of many different Bogotás - a happy one, a sad one, a miserable one, a festive one etc. - each describing a different (mood of the) city.
    :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
    As an irrelevant side note, Colombia lost to Brazil today, 2-1.

    I understand Bogotá is bracing for some unrest and has closed liquor stores. That's certainly an unhappy Bogotá.:rolleyes:
     
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