So I stumbled upon this somewhat old music record label (you can google it if you are not familiar with it). Then I thought, why is there an 'a' article. Shouldn't it be 'the'? In any name of a movie, band or song there is always "the". For example, The Cranberries, The Beatles, The Avengers, etc. I know that the author, Armin van Buuren, is from Netherlands so his lack of English knowledge may have caused this.

Is that 'a' OK? If yes, then what meaning does the title convey? Also, is it OK, but feels weird to an English-speaker's ear?


A State of Trance is fine. ‘The’ means like ‘the only one’ and ‘A’ means any of the type.

  • Thanks! Does it feels any weird to English speaker's ear? I don't know, even to me it feels so. – Nurbol Alpysbayev Dec 8 '18 at 18:47
  • It’s a more general term regarding ‘states of being’. Since we don’t really have a common interpretation on what The State of Trance is, it’s better to be more general. By saying A State of Trance, it allows everyone to imagine any state of trance. As @RossMurray pointed out, it’s a proper noun. Whether it’s the name of the band or the name of an article, it doesn’t need to be grammatically correct because it’s a name. – Britt Kelly Dec 8 '18 at 18:56

The correct punctuation you should have used is 'A State of Trance'. The entire phrase is a proper noun - a name someone has chosen to give to something.

Proper nouns do not need to make sense grammatically. The reason the first and last words and all major interior words require capital letters is to alert readers there is something different about this word, or group of words.

Grammatically, a multi-word proper noun functions in the same way as a single noun would, but the internal contents are arbitrary.

  • Thanks! That's not punctuation, but capitalization I guess. Fixed it. However, you totally missed my point. I was asking about article usage... Did you even read the question? – Nurbol Alpysbayev Dec 8 '18 at 17:37
  • Yes, I did read the question and it has no answer. There are no rules of grammar at all for what proper nouns must contain. You could change 'A' to 'Aardvark' or 'Xylophone' and it would still be grammatically correct. – Ross Murray Dec 8 '18 at 19:25
  • There are some very different questions you could have asked:(1) Are 'a state of trance' and 'the state of trance' both grammatically correct?, and (2) Do they mean different things? The answers to both of those questions is 'Yes'. – Ross Murray Dec 8 '18 at 19:36

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