The paragraph from the New York Times reads...

Rarely has any world leader come full circle the way Mr. Modi has: Denied a United States visa for nearly a decade as punishment for his handling of religious riots that broke out in the state he then led, Mr. Modi flies into New York as an immensely popular leader and a sought-after strategic partner, viewed as uniquely capable of balancing the might of a rising China.

I wonder this indefinite article. What am I missing?

  • 1
    Of course there's only one China, and it actually is rising. But using an indefinite article here creates a kind of distance (to that fact you would rather ignore, but you can't).
    – mic
    Sep 26, 2014 at 12:06
  • has article to do anything with adjective when it actually refers to a proper noun? May I say myself a good Maulik? :)
    – Maulik V
    Sep 26, 2014 at 12:18
  • 1
    Yes, assuming there is a also bad Maulik. In this instance, you would be good. Sep 26, 2014 at 12:32

1 Answer 1


"a sagging Euro", "a rising China", "an ideologically divided USA"

The indefinite article is correct usage in such locutions, where it means that the quality or property is "now | currently | at this moment in history" true or in effect for the noun in question (at other times, it might not be true).

  • May I say.. "A struggling Tim Romano?"
    – Maulik V
    Sep 26, 2014 at 12:26
  • 1
    Yes, locations like "a struggling US economy" and "a struggling {person-name|proper noun}" imply the same thing, the quality or feature is currently in effect for the noun in question. Newcaster: a struggling Chelsea side overcomes Manchester City in overtime. Sep 26, 2014 at 12:29
  • using that way with a noun is okay. I learned this thing used with proper noun. New to me!
    – Maulik V
    Sep 26, 2014 at 12:46

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