Friday, 19 September 2008


Q: Could someone write me the meaning of "certain" in the following sentence?

A certain George Mills, a secret agent, descended from a carriage.

A: It's one of those words that are easy to understand but hard to define.

The best definition I found in a quick search of OneLook is from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: "named but not previously known or mentioned".

So this sentence means something like "George Mills (whom the reader is meeting for the first time), a secret agent, descended...", but you probably wouldn't write it that way.

from alt.usage.english

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