• I can't hold a conversation with her as man and wife.

Is it not supposed to be "as a man and a wife"?

1 Answer 1


"Man and wife" is a set phrase, and is used in church ceremonies in which the vicar announces "I now pronounce you man and wife".

Apart from that, on the ELU SE there's an excellent answer by Araucaria describing "bare coordination":

This is when coordinated noun phrases (NPs) which we would otherwise expect to take a determiner of some description appear "bare" with no determiner or article at all. By coordinated, we mean that they appear in phrases using the coordinators and, or, but and so forth (some people call coordinators coordinating conjunctions). The reason that they seem to be able to appear like this is because they are in such coordinations.

Here are some more examples:

  • A black cat and a brown dog were fighting in the street. Cat and dog were equally filthy.
  • Are you man or mouse?
  • I had pen and paper ready to make notes.
  • Mother and child were said to be recovering well.
  • He appeared to be millionaire and homeless vagabond at the same time.
  • Nothing is so sacred as love between husband and wife.

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