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Hi, all.

In the [with + N + prepositional phrase] pattern, I often find no indefinite article used.

Examples:

With ticket in hand, I proceeded to the boarding gate.

With suitcase in hand, he briskly walked into his office.

With book in hand, the teacher paced the floor back and forth.

All the nouns here (ticket, suitcase, book) are countable and singular, so I think they are well qualified to take indefinite article 'a'. Could it be wrong if I add it? If I add adjectives like 'shiny', 'heavy' and 'thick' before the nouns, respectively, do I need to use 'a'?

I would very much appreciate your comments on this.

Best regards,
1 2
Comments  
Dear Komountain,

It is an interesting question. Emotion: smile

It is my opinion that it is normal to omit «with» if there is no article and to say «Ticket in hand, I proceeded to the boarding gate».

We may also say «Heavy suitcase in hand, I proceeded to the boarding gate». We must add «my» also when we add an article: «With a heavy suitcase in my hand».

But it is only my opinion. It is perhaps incorrect.

Kind regards, Emotion: smile

Goldmund
Hello KM

I almost to Goldmund. My E-J says as follows.

[with + something + in some body part]
an expression to describe a simultaneous situation that the subject has the thing in the body part.
(EX) He began to speak with a pipe in his hand/mouth.
The determiners are often elided.
(EX) He began to speak with (a) pipe in (his) hand/mouth.
Sometimes even "with" is elided.
(EX) He, pipe in hand/mouth, began to speak.

paco
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Yes; it has a rather "mannered" or "would-be literary" sound to it.

The version with "with" but no article seems like an uncomfortable hybrid.

MrP
Paco2004I almost to Goldmund.
Oops! Must be "I almost agree to Goldmund".

paco
Thank you all for your contributions.

Let me summarize what you have said.

1. With no article: you don't need a possessive before the body part.

With x ticket in x hand, ....

2. With an article: you need a possessive.

With a ticket in my hand, ....

3. 'With' may be omitted.

4. The use of adjectives has nothing to do with the use or non-use of 'a'.

If this is all right, another question flashes across my mind.

Are these variations considered incorrect?

a. With a ticket in x hand, ....

b. With x ticket in my hand, ....

Well, sentence b seems incorrect, but I am not quite sure about sentence a. If your students write like a, would you cross out the article?
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Hello Professor KM

The google search gives results as follows.
(1) "with a pipe in his mouth" 10,100.
(2) "pipe in mouth" about 5,000.
(3) "with pipe in mouth" 465.
(4) "with pipe in his mouth" 150.
(5) "with a pipe in mouth" 90.

I think we should take #3, 4, 5 as vulgar versions of #1.

paco
KomountainThank you all for your contributions.

Let me summarize what you have said.

1. With no article: you don't need a possessive before the body part.

With x ticket in x hand, ....

2. With an article: you need a possessive.

With a ticket in my hand, ....

3. 'With' may be omitted.

4. The use of adjectives has nothing to do with the use or non-use of 'a'.

If this is all right, another question flashes across my mind.

Are these variations considered incorrect?

a. With a ticket in x hand, ....

b. With x ticket in my hand, ....

Well, sentence b seems incorrect, but I am not quite sure about sentence a. If your students write like a, would you cross out the article?

fantasy!!!!!!!!!

who have the ticket

he said" a tackit in a hand"

if i was the master" ticket in hand"

thinking about who says context

my opinion else a slip

22 o clock

go to bed ^_^
Thank you, Paco.

Your research results help in further consolidating my summary above. The 'uncomfartable hybrid,' as MrPedantic aptly termed the pattern in question, is quite troublesome for the learners like you and me, and perhaps many others out there. Well, if we look at the other side of the coin, I dare say it adds some zest to our shared language-learning endeavors by allowing us to sometimes divert ourselves from a world of the ordinary. Rather than frowning on this hybrid, I'd rather take a sanguine view.
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