I’ve met some cases of not using an article A before a profession. One of them was in “Friends” when Monica said: “I’ll be coordinator” Here I thought it was just her mistake in speaking English. But then I met the same case in Peppa Pig when Madame Gazelle asked: “Who wants to be shopkeeper?” In both cases, there should be an article a before the profession: a coordinator, a shopkeeper according to the rules. So, what is this then? Why don’t they use the article here?


1 Answer 1


Your knowledge of 'the rules' is incomplete. There does not have to be an article before the title of a unique job or position. You could use a definite article ('the') but you don't have to.

After his mother died, Charles was king.

Trump was president from 2016 to 2020.

We are playing a game of pirates and I will be captain.

My uncle is head doctor at the city hospital.

An article is unnecessary in official job titles if there is only one person holding this position at any given time (i.e. Justin Trudeau was (the) Prime Minister of Canada during the COVID-19 crisis.).

Using the Zero Article (Allison Library, Regent College, Vancouver)

  • Thank you for your quick answer 🙏 Sure, my knowledge of the rules is incomplete. That’s why I am asking here 😃 I asked one teacher of English who is native speaker and he said: “We just say that but he can’t say why”. So I appreciate your explanation. Where can I find this rule? I’d like to explore this more. As I understand, we could use the definite article instead of zero article here?
    – Natalia
    Commented Feb 8 at 19:03
  • @Natalia -just do Google searches for 'zero article before unique job title or position'. Also see my addition above. Commented Feb 8 at 20:52

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