Would the following sentence be correct?

Anna Müller of German website "Utopia.de" wrote that...

Or would I have to use an article?

Anna Müller of the German website "Utopia.de" wrote that...

And if not, why?

  • Hello, Louis. Firstly, note that 'German' in your sentences is an adjective, not a noun. It is capitalised because it is a proper adjective like 'British', 'Californian', and 'Parisian' in some sentences. Yes, they can be nouns, but not when used before a head noun ('British airmen', 'Californian raisins', 'German website'. Secondly, it's a little unusual to label someone as being 'of a particular website'. They're usually users of, contributors to, visitors to a website. Thirdly, using an article in 'Anna Müller, a contributor to [the] German website "Utopia.de" is common but optional. Nov 2, 2021 at 11:25
  • @EdwinAshworth I'm having trouble creating a sound answer here. Maybe you can help? I started to answer that the article is not needed because "website" is an appositive. But 1) it's the proper noun Utopia.de that would be the appositive anyway, and 2) I can't find a source to support the idea that you don't need an article in "bla bla [general-noun-as-adjectival] [specific noun]." All I can find is a lot of vague talk about titles... but I guess the point is that this stunt only works when the specific noun is in fact a proper noun? Maybe you could provide a more coherent answer. Nov 2, 2021 at 18:18
  • I'm not sure where the lines are myself. Certainly 'Ann Miller writing in hilarious periodical "Shangri.der" wrote that ...' is unacceptable. I'm guessing it's to do with the classifier ... identifier ... descriptor roles of premodifiers. 'Hilarious' is a descriptor, far from identificational/classifying. The need for the definite article seeps through. Nov 2, 2021 at 19:33
  • @EdwinAshworth Maybe I should start a question. My train of thought was: we keep hearing about "titles." And yes, that would seem to explain "The Bears traded star quarterback Meathead McMuscley"—"quarterback" is a title. But what about cases in which it's more a descriptor than anything that could be called a title? "The crime was witnessed by restaurateur Tony Vincenzo," "... by cabbie Bob Lefkowicz," "by local vagrant Billy Smith." Nov 2, 2021 at 20:13
  • @EdwinAshworth, do you have any examples that are not people? "I am going to London" is fine, as is "I am going to the English capital, London", but "I am going to English capital London" isn't. Is there a form of this that allows "the" to be left out?
    – Peter
    Nov 2, 2021 at 23:46

1 Answer 1


The short answer would be that you need the here because it is the website. You could use

Anna Müller of "Utopia.de" wrote that ...

because Utopia.de is a name.

You can see from the comments there are similar constructions where using the is optional, and the rules are not always clear. Even if the is optional it is still correct to add it, and my recommendation would be that you do so.

  • Adding the identifying modifier before 'website' licenses the anarthrous usage. While the definite article is arguably necessary in 'He wrote a biography of the composer C P E Bach', it becomes optional in 'There is a statue of German composer George Frederick Handel in Vauxhall Gardens'. Nov 2, 2021 at 11:37
  • Also optional in "The orchestra accompanied flautist Fred Smith". But where is the line? Is it that "flautist" can be considered a title?
    – Peter
    Nov 2, 2021 at 12:02

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