Context: "He served as (the) chairman of the committee of the festival since its origin."

As far as I know, no article is needed when we speak about positions that are one-of-a-kind, like president and mayor. But do we need an article with "serve as" in more general contexts?

1 Answer 1


Both are correct. If Google Ngrams can be believed, "served as chairman" has been more common for a long time.

But be aware that "chairman" may have sexist connotations. Unless you have a good reason not to do so, I recommend "served as chair." Google also indicates that this genderless version has gained popularity in the last few decades.

On a side note, use "has served" with "since." With the simple past that you have chosen, you would be more likely to write something like this:

He served as chair of the committee of the festival from its origin until 2019.

The following is more succinct and eliminates the repetition of "of":

He chaired the committee of the festival from its origin until 2019.

Obviously, such a change alters the nature of my response. There is nothing inherently wrong with "served."

Should "Committee of the Festival" be capitalized as I show it here? If that its official name, then the caps are probably required.

  • thanks! The person has passed away, that's why I'm using past simple.
    – Diane Mik
    Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 10:20
  • Glad I could help. Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 10:21
  • 1
    You might add that such NPs are called 'bare role NPs'. Further, such NPs cannot occur as subjects or objects: in these positions they require a determiner.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 11:21

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