Yesterday, I received an email from Sun Jay, a sales manager of Panasonic, the leading manufacturer of robotics arm in the United Kingdom, on the status of the visit of our client to his factory.

Please comment on the article usage of above sentences -- a sales manager means that there are many sales managers in Panasonic, is it correct?

  • 1
    Please take care to point and capitalize your sentences correctly; you are much more likely to attract answerers if you do so. ... All your articles are acceptable. Jan 28, 2016 at 2:30
  • Is "sun jay" the name of a person? If so you need to capitalize it (Sun Jay), just like Panasonic. A sales manager does not have to mean that there is more than one sales manager; but most people know that a company as large as Panasonic will have lots of sales managers.
    – GoDucks
    Jan 28, 2016 at 2:33
  • This is a good question. My initial reaction was to say "no", but I thought about it a little more, and I'm not sure what the best way to answer is. I'll post an answer later if I get the chance.
    – stangdon
    Jan 28, 2016 at 12:57

1 Answer 1


Does "a sales manager of Panasonic" mean that there are many sales managers at Panasonic?

The only real answer is: it's a little ambiguous. Probably "yes", but it's hard to know for sure.

This is because of the way indefinite and definite articles work in English. It's very common to use a when we're talking about someone's profession, because we're just saying that they're an example of that profession. For example,

Samir is a nurse.
Joon is a musician.

If we say

Dmitri is the cook at the restaurant

that means there is only one cook, Dmitri.

But when we use "a" with something more specific (like "of Panasonic"), it's unclear. For example, if I said

Berndt is a lawyer in Mecklenburg

he might be the only lawyer in Mecklenburg, or he might be one of many. There is no way to know. When we read

Sun Jay, a sales manager of Panasonic

the best guess is that yes, there is more than one sales manager at Panasonic, because if there was only one sales manager, it would be clearer and more common to say

Sun Jay, the sales manager of Panasonic.

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