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Why there is “the” before some names but not others

When do you use definite article with names of places?

I have gathered from the Wikipedia article that it is correct to say "The Green Park is a park ..." and "... a fireworks celebration held in Green Park". What are the differences between these sentences? Why the use of the in the former situation but not the latter?


1 Answer 1


It's a matter of common usage rather than correctness. The official website of (The) Green Park uses both, but I would tend to use Green Park in speech and most writing. The Underground station is also called Green Park.

By contrast, I would almost always use the article the when referring to The Royal Mile in Edinburgh.

A special case would be when using a possessive, when I would drop the the: for instance, one might talk of Edinburgh's Royal Mile, or London's Green Park.

  • The question is from an English assignment where I am asked to add the definite article where it needs to be. The phrase is "We decided to take a stroll in () Green Park". Even though english is my second language, I feel like it should be "in Green Park" and not "in the Green Park", but I cannot explain why. Even if it is only common usage, what would be the descriptive explanation of the usage?
    – citizen
    Sep 5, 2012 at 21:54
  • Green Park is an acceptable noun-phrase, just like Hyde Park. You are correct that it should not be in the Green Park because here Green cannot be legitimately split from Park. On the other hand, if the question spoke of green park rather than Green Park, green would be an adjective, and could be split from park. The use of the would then serve to distinguish the green park from the brown park, the yellow park, etc.
    – Spinner
    Sep 5, 2012 at 22:10

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