Example with a context (Introduction to Graphical User Interfaces with Java Swing by Paul Fischer, 2004) (From the page that comes at the very beginning of every book and contains copyright and publisher information, see the picture down below):

The right of Paul Fischer to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Why do you think there is no definite article in front of author? Is it used like a title or something like that?



  • @ColleenV: so you'd say author is a title? Besides, the Q/A you gave deals with the indefinitive article?
    – Stephie
    May 6, 2015 at 4:16
  • I may have grabbed the wrong Url. Let me look over the search results again. I know that there are at least a couple answered questions dealing with articles and roles/titles. @Stephie
    – ColleenV
    May 6, 2015 at 4:19
  • 3
    This question isn't a duplicate of the question linked above. This is about a bare role noun phrase as complement of as (CGEL p.263).
    – user230
    May 6, 2015 at 4:51
  • This recent answer post might have some interesting info that might be related to your question: Why “be king”, not “be a king”?
    – F.E.
    May 15, 2015 at 19:02

4 Answers 4


David Appleyard's Guide to Article Usage in English gives a possible answer.

An article is unnecessary in official job titles if there is only one person holding this position at any given time.

Paul Fischer is the only author of his work. So, it's unnecessary to put an article in front of "author".

Let's take a look at the original text of Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988:

Right to be identified as author or director.

(1) The author of a copyright literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, and the director of a copyright film, has the right to be identified as the author or director of the work in the circumstances mentioned in this section; but the right is not infringed unless it has been asserted in accordance with section 78.

They use both of the adaptations, the one with article and the one without article, in their text. You could think of this as a way of telling the reader that he is allowed to use both of them.

Another possible explanation could be that authors refer to their "Right to be identified as author or director", because a "Right to be identified as the author or director" does not exist, since the corresponding section 77 does not include the article "the" in its title.


"Author" is a legal status/legal role under copyright law. Articles are not needed with roles.

Compare "as executor of the estate".


It's hard to grasp/explain, but "author of this work" is the name of a category/attribute/type under which the book can be described, and even though it looks like it, the actual author is not what the text is talking about.

Similar logically to:

This drink tastes like soda.

It's not the soda unless previous context/conversation/text has talked about a specific soda, i.e. we're talking about a type of drink. It's not a soda because we aren't talking about a real instance of a soda, we are talking about the category of "things like soda."

Now - you might be thinking - it's a book, of course it has an author. So why not an author?

The subtle nuance of meaning here is this: "Author" is one attribute or category that the "Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988." needs (we're not really caring about the author per se even though they should be the same thing) - probably to register the book. So a likely context could be that "Author" is the name of a field on a form, or something that needs to be filled out or given to obtain the copyright. The "legal author" if that makes sense.

  • This drink tastes like a soda works for me. Or This car drives like a Cadillac. Or like a luxury car.
    – user6951
    May 15, 2015 at 15:58
  • I'm not arguing with your answer, but so far everyone is just guessing.
    – user6951
    May 15, 2015 at 15:59
  • Good point. If I can think of a better example I will update this. :)
    – LawrenceC
    May 15, 2015 at 16:48

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 is a UK law, and this question deals specifically with Chapter IV, section 78:2

(2) The right may be asserted generally, or in relation to any specified act or description of acts—

(a) on an assignment of copyright in the work, by including in the instrument effecting the assignment a statement that the author or director asserts in relation to that work his right to be identified, or

(b) by instrument in writing signed by the author or director.

But that doesn't answer the question. The only place I could find that specifically says HOW that assertion should be worded was this website

All book authors assert this right by inserting the following wording in a book: ‘A.N. Author asserts his/her moral right to be identified as the author of this book’.

It appears that it is not legally required to use the exact wording without the article "the", so I think that the copyright notice in Introduction to Graphical User Interfaces with Java Swing by Paul Fischer is grammatically incorrect. They should have put the article "the" in front of the word "author."

  • No it's not grammatically correct. Who's author of the month?
    – user6951
    May 15, 2015 at 15:55

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