Let's say there is a game console called Bumby that can be used to play every single game available.

  1. "If you own Bumby, you won't need another console."

  2. "If you own a Bumby, you won't need another console."

In an ad for Bumby, which would be the correct way to say it?

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  • That depends on the product (Bumby) and not on the word "own", like, if you want to use an article with Bumby – Bella Swan Apr 4 '19 at 9:41

"If you own a Bumby" is correct, because it's a specific thing.

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  • Hi, thank you for the answer. But, a lot of times, don't people say it as #1? Are they just not putting in the "a"? – Bumberby Apr 4 '19 at 9:50
  • They might be using it as if it's a name... As in the case of a pet... As if they are personifying the device... – sesquipedalias Apr 4 '19 at 10:00
  • you're welcome : D – sesquipedalias Apr 4 '19 at 10:23
  • @Bumberby: Can you give examples of the usage without an article? I'm having trouble thinking of any such cases where that would make sense. – Nathan Tuggy Apr 4 '19 at 10:25
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    @Bumberby: The first of those is definitely "if you own Tesla [stock]". Not sure what to make of the other one. – Nathan Tuggy Apr 4 '19 at 17:48

Version one is used to strongly emphasize "Bumby". It is "the one", "the ultimate", "the unique" etc.

Version two is to specify one of many of the same kind, with the same name.

It is (somehow) similar with the difference between:

  1. I know Toby. I know the Toby your told me about.
  2. I know a Toby. I know someone named Toby, but that might not be the same person you referred to. (it implies at least two different persons named Toby)
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  • Thank you. So, if you want to emphasize how awesome Bumby is, you would use #1. If you want to say if you own a Bumby you won't need another console and Bumby is awesome because of that, you would use #2. Is that it? – Bumberby Apr 4 '19 at 10:06
  • Yes, that is my understanding. – virolino Apr 4 '19 at 10:07
  • Okay, thank you so much!! – Bumberby Apr 4 '19 at 10:08
  • You are welcome. – virolino Apr 4 '19 at 10:08
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    Both of your example sentences are ungrammatical. You can't be friend with someone. You can be a friend of someone or you can be friendly with someone. (And your second, with the article in front of Toby, is unnatural in most contexts, even after that correction. Only if you are saying there are multiple Tobys, and you're a friend of one of them, would it make sense.) – Jason Bassford Apr 5 '19 at 20:00

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