ALMA Tip: A and THE with names
Using ‘a’ and ‘the’ correctly can be a challenge, but we know one thing for sure: articles don’t go before people’s names, right? Wrong!
The rule works for the most basic case: “I met Jane yesterday, she was with Jacky.”
However, we do use ‘the’ with last names to refer to the family as a whole: “The Browns have been living here for ages.”
We also put ‘a’ before a surname when we speak of person as a family representative: “Florence will never, never, never be a Dombey.”
Another example of using ‘the’ with names is to stress that we indeed mean that particular person (the equivalent of the Russian “тот самый”): “My friend’s name is George Bush. — Cool name, what a coincidence! — Nah, he is the George Bush.”