From The BBC

President Obama has said the Republican nominee Donald Trump is unfit to be president and questioned why party leaders still support his candidacy.

Shouldn't it be 'unfit to be the president or a president?


1 Answer 1


"The" can be omitted if a sentence is understood to refer to a uniquely singular job or position.

For example, it does not make sense to write "unfit to be senator"; there are many senators, so "a senator" is required.

However, when the job or position is totally individual, the article "the" often is omitted. For example, "He is unfit to be Speaker" (there is only one Speaker of the House of Representatives).

Think of a casting director evaluating an actor for a part. He could say, "He is too tall to be a Napoleon." But "a" is not necessary. "He is too tall to be Napoleon" would be understood.

When words can be omitted in English, they often are; fewer words have more impact.

Other examples of a singular position, when inclusion of "the" is not necessary:

Unfit to be Miss America

Unfit to be King

Unfit to be Pope


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