(the) great writer + name

Snappy_is_here

Senior Member
Japanese
What is the difference in meaning between the following two sentences?

The great writer L. N. Tolstoy was born in Russia.
Great writer L. N. Tolstoy was born in Russia. (Is this sentence acceptable?)
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    This particular example sounds completely wrong. However, adjective + occupation noun + name, with no article 'the', is grammatical, barely, but I'm reluctant to say acceptable. Its use is confined to journalism and the astoundingly bad prose of Dan Brown. Here's Geoff Pullum dissecting the infamous opening words 'Renowned curator Jacques Saunière':
    http://158.130.17.5/~myl/languagelog/archives/000844.html
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Prompted by eb's comments...

    The great writer L. N. Tolstoy was born in Russia. I don't see any errors in grammar. That said, it's clunky writing.

    A more common way of saying it follows. This is easier on the ear, perhaps because it is more familiar.

    The great writer
    L. N. Tolstoy, the great writer, was born in Russia.

    Both sentences carry the same information. The second example, with the appositive phrase following the name, is much more common.

    Great writer L. N. Tolstoy was born in Russia. If this had a definite article at the beginning of the sentence it would be less jarring, not so foreign sounding. As written,
    it's more than clunky; it doesn't sound like something a native speaker would say. I assume that this is the construction entangledbank dislikes so much, and accuses Dan Brown of using. I haven't had the err... pleasure of reading Mr. Brown. I'm not persuaded that I've missed much. ;)
     

    Snappy_is_here

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Prompted by eb's comments...

    The great writer L. N. Tolstoy was born in Russia. I don't see any errors in grammar. That said, it's clunky writing.

    A more common way of saying it follows. This is easier on the ear, perhaps because it is more familiar.

    The great writer
    L. N. Tolstoy, the great writer, was born in Russia.

    Both sentences carry the same information. The second example, with the appositive phrase following the name, is much more common.

    Great writer L. N. Tolstoy was born in Russia. If this had a definite article at the beginning of the sentence it would be less jarring, not so foreign sounding. As written,
    it's more than clunky; it doesn't sound like something a native speaker would say. I assume that this is the construction entangledbank dislikes so much, and accuses Dan Brown of using. I haven't had the err... pleasure of reading Mr. Brown. I'm not persuaded that I've missed much. ;)
    Thanks.

    What about the following case?

    "I found this phrase in (the) great writer Tolstoy's "War and Peace."
    Should I put "the" or not?
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top