I know, that there is a rule, that occupations are without articles. So, we are writing: "Er ist Arzt".

I have found couple of example on internet, like:

"Er ist der Geschäftsführer des Unternehmens"

Is it correct?

"Er ist Geschäftsführer des Unternehmens"

  • is it also correct?

What is a difference?


Both are correct.

Er ist der Geschäftsführer des Unternehmens

is correct if there is only one Geschäftsführer (translates roughly, but not directly, to Director), “the” Geschäftsführer.

Er ist Geschäftsführer des Unternehmens

means he is a Geschäftsführer. Which implies certain rights and responsibilities, and those might be shared with other Geschäftsführern.

Er ist ein Geschäftsführer des Unternehmens

does indeed imply that there is more than one Geschäftsführer.

Er ist Geschäftsführer

can simply be understood as stating his current role in a company (but does not state the company) or occupation, which is, according to the rule you stated, done without an article. Similar to »Er is Arzt« or »Sie ist Ingenieurin«.

Note: As has been said many times here on German.SE, don’t ask “why” when it comes to grammar or spelling. Language just evolved to be that way.

Er ist ein Geschäftsführer

Er ist der Geschäftsführer

are also not wrong per se, but especially the second version feels very incomplete—one would immediately ask »Der Geschäftsführer von?«.

  • Thank you! And what about the sentence "Er ist Geschäftsführer."? Why don't we have here an article? – germanlover Sep 3 '19 at 20:12
  • if one wanted to explicitly select one of many Führers, one would say ein "one, a". Ultimately, your reading regarding the special case of occupations is right on track. Of course the answer is not wrong either, but the variant without articls is underspecified. Thus the answer has to be too. – vectory Sep 3 '19 at 21:14
  • @germanlover You can use names of occumpations that way, without an article: Er ist Bäcker, Sie ist Bibliothekarin, Er ist Lehrer, Sie ist Schülerin, and likewise Er ist Geschäftsführer. These sentences focus on the occupation of the person. They do not say in what company or institution these occupations are carried out. – Christian Geiselmann Sep 4 '19 at 10:41

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