Example (Ukraine crisis: Putin shows who is boss in Crimea):

RBut it was also about demonstrating who is boss here now. Vladimir Putin is spending three days in Crimea with a whole delegation of senior Russian politicians and business figures in tow.

Why do you think there is no definite article in front of the word boss? I know some of you will most likely say that the word is being used as a title, but why then is it not capitalized if it's a title? And don't you think that it would sound equally as good if the author had simply said the boss?


Question #1:

If it's a title, why is it not capitalized?

Question #2:

Do you think it would sound equally good if the author had simply written the boss instead of boss without the article?

  • When the article is omitted, like in your example, the word 'boss' plays the role of an adjective. If the definite article is included, then it's a noun. Either way is fine, I believe. Aug 20 '15 at 12:57
  • I don't believe this is necessarily an adjectival use, though.
    – Catija
    Aug 20 '15 at 20:08

Boss can be used as an adjective to describe, well, a boss, or master. There is also a slang usage of it that means "first-rate" or "very satisfactory," but that slang isn't really used very often anymore.

As a small bonus, this image seems like it exhibits broken English when it really doesn't:

A valid English sentence, although an awkward one.

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