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Hi there,

I want to ask a question about article 'the' in the following sentence:

John Owen, chairman OR the chairman of the Environment Department, has decided to do something to protect our environment.

I learned from school that when there is only ONE chairman in the department, there is no need to use the definite article 'the' to modify. So I think without article in the above example is more appropriate. What do you think?

Simon
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Yes, you are correct.
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hi there,

However, I found a sentence in an Longman textbook

You are James Owen, the chairperson of the Environment Club at St. John's secondary school.

Is the article 'the' before 'chairperson' is unnecessary?

Simon
This is a different context altogether. The 'the' is necessary here. Well, I suppose that we could argue that it isn't. This is one of those situations (and your previous example) where you could go either way depending on how you look at it and your personal style preference. Sorry, I know that is annoying to hear.

My personal preferences

John Owen, chairman OR the chairman of the Environment Department, has decided to do something to protect our environment. I'd leave out the 'the' as the information in that clause is not the important point of the sentence. We are saying that John Owen has decided to do something and merely pointing out who he is.

You are James Owen, the chairperson of the Environment Club at St. John's secondary school. I'd leave in 'the' as this is the important information of the sentence - telling us who we are.