Take a sentence like:

'Excellent lady that she was, Lady Gigabytes invited us over for dinner.'


'Lady Gigabytes (excellent lady that she was) invited us over for dinner.'

What both these sentences mean is:

'Lady Gigabytes was an excellent lady so she invited us over for dinner.'

Why, then, don't we use an article before 'excellent lady' when we write 'excellent lady that she was'?

Thank you in advance!

1 Answer 1


The indefinite article "a/an" has the rough meaning, "one among many"

In this context, however, the meaning is closer to "The excellent lady that she in particular was...", as in, there was only one such excellent lady, and her name was Lady Gigabytes.

There are surely many excellent ladies in the world, but Lady Gigabytes is the only one who is an excellent lady in quite the way she is that led her to invite us over for dinner.

So the meaning isn't that any excellent lady would have invited us over for dinner, or that any woman who invites us over for dinner is an excellent lady, but that this particular woman was excellent in a particular way such that she invited us over for dinner.

  • Then why didn't the author use the definite article? I think that OP might be interested in the answer to that question. Aug 23 at 15:25

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