Why is Congress used without the definite article the?

marked as duplicate by choster, Chenmunka, tchrist, Ellie Kesselman, Robusto Nov 8 '14 at 14:32

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  • Proper nouns do not need determiners. – Joe Dark Nov 6 '14 at 10:45
  • 2
    This is something that varies from organization to organization, and also with the way it's being used in the sentence. – Barmar Nov 6 '14 at 16:05
  • Pedantically, it is supposed to be referred to as 'the Congress' but most people just say 'Congress'. As to why they prefer that, that is a hard question to answer. – Mitch Nov 7 '14 at 20:39

Good question, and, as regards the answer one at which I can only make a guess.

Perhaps because Congress, whether one is speaking of the Houses of Congress, or the ruling body of any organisation, the word has an especially grand ring about it.

Similarly if one is speaking of Parliament, meaning Westminster, one would not use the article. But if one were speaking, let's say, about another country, let's say Sierra Leone, one might say, showing a photograph, something like: 'the parliament meets in this building'.

But generally if you are having a detailed discussion about a particular country, the article might well be omitted. I believe it to be the same for Congress

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