General Writing and Grammar Help/Expert


QUESTION: Hi my dear teacher

How are you? Life is great as usual. Hope you are doing fine too.

When I send a message through Allexperts, I receive the following message:

"We've sent your question to the Expert."

Here is my question: why is the letter "e" in the "expert" in capital? Please explain your reasons.

Many thanks and take care. I wish you all the best.

ANSWER: It's a proper name.  All is well here!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks. I know what you mean. But I still think there is a problem.

Let's suppose that the name of the expert is "Peter."

"We've sent your question to the Expert."
"We've sent your question to the Peter." ( The Peter?!!! What is the function of "The"??????

Here is my question: Your explanation would be correct if there isn't an article "the" before the word "expert."

What is the function of the article "the" before "expert"?

I think the use of "e" in capital is wrong.

Many thanks

ANSWER: It should read =to an Expert=, not =to the Expert=.  =The Expert= means there's only one.

You are right; sending a letter =to the Peter= is ridiculous!  Since there is only one Peter (let us presume this is so!), it would be =to Peter=.

I suppose =to an expert= is grammatically more correct than =to an Expert=.  You have caught us out!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you.

You say that it should read "to an Expert."

But I think the use of the "an" is wrong. According to you, it should read: "We have sent your question to AN Peter."

Do we have "An Peter" in English? I think it Allexperts should have written:
"We have sent your question to Expert."

What do you think?
Best and thank you

=to Peter= (this is the man's name - a specific man)
=to Expert= is NOT correct (unless a specific person's name is "Expert")


=to an Expert= (this is the generic/honorific name of the person who is providing expert help on this site)


=to an expert= (this is a general person with expertise - not on this site; people on this site designated with expertise are called Experts)

General Writing and Grammar Help

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Martha Beth Lewis


I will answer questions having to do with grammar, plurals, punctuation, capitalization, mood, person, tense, and so on, as well as word usage and word choice. If you want a quick answer to a specific question, particularly if you wish to use formal American English for business or academic purposes (MLA), I can give you a timely response. I also can address word choice, clarity, structure, and similar concerns involving English as a second language. If you want advice of a deeper editorial nature (e.g., substantive [line] editing), please consult an Expert who offers this sort of assistance; I do not offer this sort of assistance.


I was employed as an editor for the graduate school at a major U.S. university and specialized in dissertations. I have over 200 publications in professional journals, consumer magazines, and newspapers. I am the author of five books and numerous syllabi in an arts field. I also am a freelance line editor, copy editor, and proofreader (over 40 years), and I have written or edited countless community organizations' newsletters and promotional materials.

Note: When using a word as a word in a sentence, such as: Put a period after the word dog, =dog= should be set in italics. Since I do not have access to italics here, I shall use = on either side of the word or phrase that properly should appear in italics. For the above example: Put a period after the word =dog=. Also, ~~please do not mark your questions as private~~. I will change them to public because I don't want to type the same answer twice! Thanks for your understanding.

If you submit a question to other Experts or the pool, I'd appreciate it if you would >>NOT<< submit it to me, also. It's like asking several people out on a date and choosing among those who said yes! This implies my time and particular expertise are worth nothing to you. I want to spend my time responding to those who find my qualifications germane to their question. Remember: I'm a volunteer!

Education B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa Ph.D.

Awards and Honors
I ask that you >>COME BACK TO READ MY RESPONSE<<. I've taken time to write the best response I can, so you should come back to read it! It's disheartening to respond to a question, only to see later that the person has not bothered to come back. Remember: I'm a volunteer!

Past/Present Clients
I am happy to help you - that's why I volunteered - but please remember I *am* a volunteer and extend me normal courtesies, such as no multiple submissions and not bothering to come back for your answer. mb

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