In the following sentence,

It was great meeting you at X-Event in [the] beautiful Monterey Bay.

is [the] required by grammar, or is it optional? It sounds more fluid and poetic without it but since Monterey Bay is a known location does it require the? On the other hand the refers to 'beautiful Monterey Bay' which is not directly the location but it is subjectively modified by beautiful.


The inclusion of "beautiful" does not alter whether the proper noun requires "the":

We visited the beautiful Empire State Building.

We visited beautiful New York City.

You can, however, add "the" even if it was not appropriate without the "beautiful":

CORRECT: We visited New York City.

CORRECT: We visited beautiful New York City.

WRONG: We visited the New York City.

OKAY: We visited the beautiful New York City.

This last option may be somewhat of an opinion question but I wouldn't balk at it if I heard it said.

  • 1
    Of note, I cannot speak directly to Monterey Bay in particular other than to note that most named physical features get a "the": the Mississippi River; the Grand Canyon. Of course, there are exceptions: Niagara Falls. – MrHen Oct 8 '13 at 21:41
  • I think you've got it back to front (in your comment, not the answer): only American rivers, and seas, oceans, straits, channels and gulfs regularly take the: other features (including bays) rarely do, and usually only where the defining word is a description rather than the name. – Colin Fine Oct 8 '13 at 22:14

As Monterey Bay is a proper noun the the is not required (and looks a bit odd), the use of an adjective does not change this.

  • 2
    Proper nouns often do require the; for example, you wouldn't meet somebody “in Empire State Building.” Whether to use the depends on what kind of geographical feature you're talking about and sometimes the specific context. There's nothing wrong with referring to the Monterey Bay (or the San Francisco Bay, both of which you'll hear people say around here). – Bradd Szonye Aug 27 '13 at 2:01
  • Good point, perhaps there is a regional difference - it would never occur to me to say "the Sydney Harbour" (but "the Harbour" would be quite OK - a reference in Sydney to "the Harbour" would automatically mean Sydney Harbour) similarly "the Sutherland Shire" would feel unnatural but "the Shire of Sutherland" or "the Shire" (regionally the same thing even though there are other shires in Sydney) would be OK. Perhaps in your example of "the Empire State Building" the difference is, even though it is a proper noun, it feels like a noun "Building" modified by an adjective "Empire State". Thoughts – Dale M Aug 27 '13 at 23:54
  • @BraddSzonye Thanks! So would omitting "the" also be grammatically correct? I've been having an argument with someone about this – AimForClarity Sep 4 '13 at 4:11
  • Omitting the "the" would be grammatically correct although it suggest that you may need an aqualung since you met "IN Monterey Bay" - maybe its a town as well? – Dale M Sep 4 '13 at 5:22
  • I'd not worry about 'Last year, we visited the beautiful Niagara Falls' but I wouldn't say 'Last year, we visited the Niagara Falls'. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 8 '13 at 22:14

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