I was best man at a friend's wedding. Can we use "best man" without an article? Thanks.

  • 1
    I would say yes, because it works like a title, and titles don't normally take articles (like "She is Queen") but I'll let somebody else give a more detailed answer.
    – stangdon
    Jan 28 '16 at 14:42
  • As other answers have said, you can omit the article. I just wanted to add: you can also leave it in. In other words: "I was best man at Jacob's wedding" is correct, but that doesn't mean "I was the best man at Jacob's wedding" is wrong.
    – J.R.
    Jan 28 '16 at 17:39
  • Some related questions and answers: ell.stackexchange.com/a/64671 ell.stackexchange.com/q/24921 ell.stackexchange.com/q/69759
    – ColleenV
    Jan 28 '16 at 18:08

Yes, this is correct without a or the because there is only one best man at a wedding. You can do that same thing for similar nouns: He was captain of the football team. She was chess champion of the world. I was president of the debating club.

But if there can be more than one with the same title, you would use a or the. I was a groomsman at my friend's wedding. (Not: I was groomsman.) She was a vice-president of the company. See this answer on ELU.

Although to me, we can say He was co-captain of the football team even when there are more than one co-captains.

See Can predicative complements not be bare noun phrases in English? That is, are clauses such as “I am student” incorrect?.


Yes, colloquially, I hear this type of statement often.
While most commonly you would say "I was the best man at a friend's wedding.", colloquially, I have often heard it said without the article. Spoken speech is often more informal than when it is written.

This omission of articles has also been addressed here; When can an article be omitted?

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