The editorial also discussed how Spiro Agnew differed from the men in the carving... Readers agreed, proven by the crowd at the dedication... Even James Venable, descendant of the man who originally allowed a Confederate Memorial to be carved on Stone Mountain, did not attend. (Source: an essay by an American student in a college class)

Since "descendant" is a count noun, shouldn't it be determined by an article? To improve this sentence, which article should be added? Definite or indefinite?

  • "a" not "the" since there may have been more than one descendant. Otherwise "descended from the man ... " Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 19:59

1 Answer 1


An article is not required when the noun is the name of a status. James Venable, descendant of the man who... Peter Smith, son of John Smith, London, capital of the United Kingdom, Rover, winner of the local dog show, Mick Jagger, singer of the Rolling Stones. Michael Harvey, cat owner and fisherman. Whether an article to be inserted would be definite or indefinite depends on the context.

  • 2
    However, an article still can be present
    – Daniel G
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 21:45

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