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While I know in certain contexts a title should not be preceded by the definite article, e.g. "He was elected president," I find myself in doubt whether to use the definite article in such a sentence:

My name is John Doe. I am (the) chair of the Economics Department.

My intuition tells me both are correct. And as far as I have searched on Google, it seems both are used. Is that the case? Any difference in meaning? What about this sentence:

As (the) chair of the Economics Department, I wish to congratulate Jane Doe.

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    Both are fine. It's quite conversational and understandable to hear that somebody is chair of the department without the leading article. Commented Dec 9, 2018 at 15:30

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This "the" is required:

My name is John Doe. I am the chair of the Economics Department.

This would be incorrect:

My name is John Doe. I am the chair of Economics Department.

"Economics department" is a specific singular noun (there is only one), so the article "the" is required. As an aside, if John Doe went to a scholastic conference where there were many different department chairs from many universities, he might introduce himself as:

My name is John Doe. I am the chair of an Economics Department.

"The" is not required in this sentence, but it would not be incorrect to include it:

As the chair of the Economics Department, I wish to congratulate Jane Doe.

You might include "the" before a title in this way to emphasize the title. For example, "I am THE President of the United States."

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  • I accidentally put the parentheses outside the wrong article in the first sentence. Yes, of course it should be "the Economics Department". No question there.
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Dec 9, 2018 at 5:37

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