2

While Heaphy was in the role of hawk-eyed, sure-handed, specimen-procuring guide, Hochstetter, Haast and their colleagues were delighted by him and quick to sing his praises. (source)

This sentence strikes me as missing an article. Since "guide" is a count noun, shouldn't the sentence read:

While Heaphy was in the role of a hawk-eyed, sure-handed, specimen-procuring guide, Hochstetter, Haast and their colleagues were delighted by him and quick to sing his praises.

Is "the role of guide" grammatical?

5
  • We can omit articles before nouns indicating unique roles or positions. I'm not sure why the author omitted it here though. Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 17:13
  • I think it's a typo or editing mistake. The sentence is not correct without the article. Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 17:31
  • 2
    @CanadianYankee: Feasibly a typo, given the extra-long list of adjectival elements between the [potential] article and the associated noun (which tends to make the "stylised" omission of the article a little more "clumsy"). But no way is it "incorrect". Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 18:50
  • @FumbleFingers - Thinking about it, I guess you're correct - sometimes we do omit the article if we're treating the noun as if it's a formal title. Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 18:53
  • @CanadianYankee: Just to hammer the point home, Google Books claims hundreds of thousands of written instances of the article-less form in the role of teacher. But obviously none at all of in the role of hawk-eyed, sure-handed, specimen-procuring teacher. :) Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 18:56

1 Answer 1

1

Articles are sometimes omitted from unique roles, positions, titles, etc.

Heaphy was in the role of guide.

Cheryl was hired in the role of director.

etc.

You must log in to answer this question.