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I know that in general, the definite article "the" does not usually precede proper nouns:

  • Verizon introduced two new phones today (not "The Verizon")

but it gets trickier when the proper noun is an abbreviation that stands for a phrase that would require preceding with "the", if it were stated in an unabbreviated form.

  • "BBC added two new shows" vs. "The BBC added two new shows" (British Broadcasting Corporation)
  • "MBTA added two new trains" vs. "The MBTA added two new trains" (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority)
  • "Caltrans added two new exit ramps" vs "The Caltrans added two new exit ramps" (California Department of Transportation)
  • "Win32 API added two new functions" vs "The Win32 API added two new functions" (Windows 32-bit API)
  • "WinAPI added two new functions" vs "The WinAPI added two new functions" (Windows API)
  • "DOD added two new aircraft carriers" vs "The DOD added two new aircraft carriers" (Department of Defence)
  • "NATO added two new offices in Poland" vs "The NATO added two new offices in Poland" (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
  • "NYPD added two new task forces" vs "The NYPD added two new task forces" (New York [City] Police Department)

Can anyone help provide guidance for which form to use, depending on how it is used? As far as I can tell:

  • Subject -- not sure; see my examples above
  • Direct object -- not sure (example: "I love NYPD" vs "I love the NYPD") but "the" sounds better
  • Indirect object -- not sure (example: "Someone gave NYPD two new cars" vs "Someone gave the NYPD two new cars") but "the" sounds better
  • Adjective forms -- do not use "the" (example: "Two NYPD officers", "I like MBTA trains")
  • Object of a preposition -- not sure (example: "Two officers from NYPD" vs "Two officers from the NYPD"; "Two functions in WinAPI" vs "Two functions in the WinAPI") but "the" sounds better
  • When the noun is pronounceable like "Caltrans" or "NATO" then it sounds wrong to add "the" in front of it
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