Which article would be the most natural choice in a plain description of a particular building - here's the kind of sentences I'm referring:

"Torun, Poland - a house where Nicolaus Copernicus, an astronomer and scientist, was born in 1473."

This sentence has no context at all, it is just a short description of a photo used on a stock photography site. Shoud I use the definitive article as it is a description of that one particular building, or is the indefinite one acceptable here? Like in

"James Joyce - a writer who created "Ulysses""

Another, but off-topic question I'd like to ask is if the "where" clause is correct in this context, or "a house in which Copernicus was born" should be used.

To be more precise, I don't want to depreciate in any way the places / objects by choosing the indefinite article, but it seems normal to use sentences like "James Joyce was a writer", "Copernicus was an astronomer" etc., so along these lines I just try to show a house in Torun, a (the) house where (in which) Copernicus was born in.


1 Answer 1


Because Copernicus is a very famous astronomer, it would be normal to refer to him as the astronomer and scientist. Similarly for Joyce - the writer who created 'Ulysses'. The indefinite article would be used for a relatively unknown person - "John Bloggs, a novelist popular in the 1920s but now almost forgotten, was born here."

Since Copernicus could only be born in one place, the house would be appropriate as well.

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