What article if any should I use in the sentences below?

I have -/a/the dog Rex.
I have -/a/the brother Sam. 

I surmise that in the second case there is no need for an article. Thank you for your help in advance!

1 Answer 1


In I have Rex or I have Sam, you don't use articles.

If you're using the word "dog" or "brother", you must use articles.

"I have a brother, Sam" means you have a brother called Sam (or that you are speaking to someone called Sam and telling him that you have a brother).

"I have a dog, Rex" means you have a dog called Rex.

"I have the dog, Rex" means that you have a particular dog that you probably expect the other person to have heard about previously, and that it's called Rex.

  • The commas in these examples make them ambiguous. You have noted that in your second example, but the same issue applies to examples 3 and 4. Rex could be a person that you are speaking to about your unnamed dog. If the dog is named Rex, better to say it fully : "I have a dog named Rex." No confusion. Jan 15, 2023 at 16:54

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