I wonder how to explain this regular zero article in such constructions:

  1. Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrentheit 451.
  2. Karl Marx, creator of Marxism.

I can see that the second example may be explained as a title or something like this. But what is the first one?

  • Where did you see the phrases? Commented Nov 11, 2020 at 5:55
  • @Astralbee As a regular (ie non-mod) user, the system doesn’t let me close as duplicates of “unanswered” questions. In this case, I was able to cast a duplicate because the answer there has been designated by the community as a good answer, through upvotes. The answer to both questions is the same.
    – Laurel
    Commented Nov 11, 2020 at 15:53
  • @laurel Not sure how it works, but if this one gets an accepted answer then maybe the other should be closed as a duplicate? I just looked at your link and it doesn't really cover the 2 different reasons distinctly enough for my liking.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Nov 11, 2020 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


I'm going to start with a quote from the movie Gladiator:

My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife.

As you can see, he is a commander, a general, a father and a husband, but none of these requires an article.

When a description of a job role is unique, or when you have already named one specific person who holds that role, you can optionally omit the article.


  • He is an author.

This requires the indefinite article because there are many authors.

  • He is the author of Farenheit 451.

Because there is only one author of that specific title, the definite article can be used, or it can be omitted:

  • He is author of Fareheith 451.

You can also omit the article if the person is specifically named, for example:

  • Ray Bradbury, author and screenwriter, died in 2012.
  • Thank you very much! I understand now.
    – Artyom
    Commented Nov 11, 2020 at 16:14

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