'Some' before proper nouns

Jenny_Ben

Senior Member
Hindi
Hello everyone,


My question is:

Is the following sentence grammatical and idiomatic?

Some Mr. Cooper called in the morning.

(Context: I miss a phone call - my friend receives it in my absence. He does not know who Mr. Cooper is, so he says this to me when I am back.)


Your replies will be appreciated.

Thank you.
 
  • Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    The original sentence is grammatical but unidiomatic. "Some Mr. Cooper" sounds as if the speaker did not have a favourable impression of the caller.

    Bibliolept's suggestion of "A Mr. Cooper" solves the problem.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I agree with Hildy1. "Some Mr. Cooper" is a very negative, sarcastic comment.

    "A Mr. Cooper called" is neutral, but casual. If it isn't said with the right intonation, it doesn't make sense.

    "Someone named Mr. Cooper called" is standard.
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    The argument can be made that simply saying "Mr. Cooper called" would be acceptable, even if you don't know the person from previous interactions. These days you'd likely get a first and last name anyway, and you'd be very likely to say "Adam Cooper called" even if you'd never heard of the man before.

    "A Mr. Cooper called" is neutral, but casual. If it isn't said with the right intonation, it doesn't make sense.

    "Someone named Mr. Cooper called" is standard.
    I don't know that "a Mr. Cooper" is any less "standard" than the more cumbersome "someone named Mr. Cooper."
     

    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    I'm not a native speaker, but to my ears, when you say 'some Mr Cooper', it sounds like you're trying to dismiss Mr Cooper as not being a relevant or important person. However, I believe that wouldn't be true in all cases and contexts. So the answer really is-it depends on the broader context.
     

    glamorgan

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    As others have written, "Some Mr Cooper" would sound dismissive. Of course, the person making the statement might want it to sound dismissive, if Mr Cooper had been rude, for example. If you want to get a better feel for the dismissive aspect, try replacing "Mr Cooper" with something else, for example: "Some man called" or "Some bloke called" or "Some guy called".
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Some Mr Cooper called this morning is not something that I could say.
    I could say Some bloke called Cooper called this morning, though - if I wanted to sound dismissive or uninterested.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Is the following sentence grammatical and idiomatic?
    Some Mr. Cooper called in the morning.
    (Context: I miss a phone call - my friend receives it in my absence. He does not know who Mr. Cooper is, so he says this to me when I am back.)
    I can hear it as informal/colloquial if it is said with a certain intonation, and with sound shift's meaning (#16 above) of Some bloke called Cooper called this morning,

    In earlier Modern English, such a construction was possible but is now obsolete:
    OED

    Some
    B. adj.1
    I. With singular nouns.
    †b. = one pron. Obsolete.
    1765 T. Hutchinson Hist. Colony Massachusets-Bay, 1628–91 (ed. 2) i. 86 A quo warranto had been brought by some Sir John Banks, attorney-general [etc.].
     

    Jenny_Ben

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Thank you, everyone, for your replies.

    In the given context, the speaker does not mean to say that Mr. Cooper is an unpleasant person. However, he has not met him or heard of him before, i.e. he is totally unfamiliar with this person. So, 'some' should not be used here I guess. What do you think?
     
    Last edited:

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    For English learners, I would suggest:

    --- if you read/hear "Some Mr X called while you were out", it probably indicates that Mr X is not known to the speaker - the call was unexpected, and the person gave his name as Mr X, but the speaker is unsure if that's true or not, or is otherwise dismissive based on the interaction (not based on prior knowledge).

    --- if you simply want to indicate neutrally that some unknown person called, it would be far better to say: "A Mr X called while you were out", as previously suggested.

    Is the following sentence grammatical and idiomatic?
    Grammatical yes, but peculiar, and unidiomatic.

    Also, it's VERY risky. If the caller was still on the line and heard you say to your work colleague "some Mr X is on the line", that would be very offensive. In a sales department, you would soon be told "You're fired!"
     
    Last edited:

    Jenny_Ben

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Grammatical yes, but peculiar, and unidiomatic.

    Also, it's VERY risky. If the caller was still on the line and heard you say to your work colleague "some Mr X is on the line", that would be very offensive. In a sales department, you would soon be told "You're fired!"
    Thanks. This sounds more convincing!
     
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