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Ok, I often hear

I am Teacher Tom.

So I can deduce that I can say

I am actor Tom.

Then, my question is that:

Can I say

The actor Tom Cruise's face shape is square?

I feel it a bit awkward. But I don't want to say a long sentence like this

Tom Cruise is an actor whose face shape is square.

  • I don't think "face shape" is commonly used. Maybe "The shape of actor Tom Cruise's face is square." is enough. – user3169 Dec 15 '15 at 5:51
3

I would like to start with this:

I am Teacher Tom.

I don't know where you hear that often, but it doesn't sound like very good English to me. "Teacher Tom" sounds like a name used in a preschool. Better English would be:

I am Tom, a teacher.

or:

I am Tom, and I'm an actor.

If the sentence did not begin with "I am," you could use the word actor in front of Tom, like this:

I'd like to get the actor Tom in here for an interview.


As for talking about Tom Cruise and his face, I'm not sure you even need to add "the actor", because Tom Cruise is such a famous actor that most people already know what he does for a living. But let's say there's a carpenter in my town who happens to share the same name as the actor. Either of these sound okay to me:

Tom Cruise (the carpenter) has a square face.
The carpenter Tom Cruise is square-faced.

That said, if we are talking about the actor, we could say:

Tom Cruise is a square-faced actor.

That sentence is better than your original:

The actor Tom Cruise's face shape is square.

The reason your sentence sounds awkward is because it first identifies Tom Cruise as an actor (a fact that we already know), and then goes on to say that the shape of his face is roughly square. My version is slightly different; by using square-faced to modify the word actor (instead of the person Tom), we are differentiating Mr. Cruise from other famous actors with a remark about the shape of his face.

  • Many Filipino teachers say like that "I am teacher Mary / Tom /...." – Tom Dec 15 '15 at 12:14
  • There's a difference between job titles (teacher, surgeon, lawyer) and honorifics (Professor, Doctor, Counselor). Honorifics are used like they're part of a person's name, but job titles are not. "I am Doctor Smith" is acceptable and normal, "I am surgeon Smith" is not. "I am Doctor Smith, your surgeon" would be acceptable to distinguish him from "Doctor Smith, your anesthesiologist." (Probably a tough word for ELL, but it gets the point across.) – T.J.L. Dec 15 '15 at 15:00
  • @T.J.L. - Good points, and I agree. That said, we generally use last names, not first names, so Professor Tom only works if the professor's last name is Tom. Also, at least in North America, we don't usually use Teacher as an honorific (professor, yes, but teacher, no). To Tom: That's interesting to learn, but it sounds decidedly off to my American ear. – J.R. Dec 15 '15 at 15:34
  • I did say that teacher was a job title, not an honorific. In formal use, you're absolutely right - honorifics are used with a last name or a full name. That's why I picked "Smith" for my example. However, in casual/familiar use and for disambiguation, it's occasionally acceptable to use an honorific with a first name. – T.J.L. Dec 15 '15 at 15:54
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    @Araucaria - There's nothing wrong with that grammatically, but I think it can be shortened to "Tom Cruise has a square face" for most usages. I list two examples in this answer, but that really covers four, because you can use either of the two starts with either of the two endings, e.g.: what you said, plus Tom Cruise (the actor) is square-faced. – J.R. Dec 15 '15 at 15:59
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You don't want a long and awkward sentence.

There could be many ways then. I'm writing one that I'd say -

Tom Cruise is a square-faced actor.

Literature reference here.


Shapes of faces are many. But be aware of using 'square face' or any such expression that also has an idiomatic usage.

  • Can I say "I met the square-faced actor Tom Cruise yesterday"? – Tom Dec 15 '15 at 5:52
  • yes, square-faced would serve as an adjective then. – Maulik V Dec 15 '15 at 5:57
  • While grammatically correct, the context makes the sentence awkward. The shape of his face isn't relevant to having met him, unless you're using it to distinguish one actor named Tom Cruise from another. – T.J.L. Dec 16 '15 at 19:23

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