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83

I can't speak for AmE, but in British English there is a distinction between "to school" and "to the school". If you say: He went to school/church/hospital. you imply that they went there for 'the purpose for which that place is designed'. On the other hand, if you say: Jimmy's parents went to the school to meet the headmaster. He wasn't ...


32

There is something fundamentally wrong with the statement that “The Ukraine is the way the Russians referred to that part of the country during Soviet times”. Russian has no definite article, and as far as I know, the Russian name for (the) Ukraine has not changed since the country’s independence. ‘The Ukraine’ is how English-speaking people have ...


29

When we omit the article before the noun, we are thinking of a state or condition, not of a specific place: in jail, in love, in hospital, at university, under fire,


28

This is a nice explanation from a professor of etymology, via the BBC: Professor Liberman says the habit of putting "the" in front of place names is heard throughout the English-speaking world and is common to Germanic and Romance languages. "In general, use of the definite article is unpredictable. Why should it be London but The Thames? There is no ...


27

Generally the article is not used with acronyms (initials that can be pronounced as a word), whereas it is with initialisms (initials where the letters themselves are pronounced). I would actually use the article with 'ESA' in the examples you gave, and so 'NASA' (acronym) doesn't get an article, but 'FBI', 'ESA', and 'DDR' (initialisms) do. That said, ...


20

For Sun, you always need the definite article when referring to the star itself. The only time you don't need it is when you're referring to the Sun's light/heat output... "I like sun" is just about valid, but sun there just functions as shorthand for sunshine. Certainly that's what it means in the more common form "I like the sun" (note lack of ...


20

I don't believe that this is a purely English-language distinction, as there is a direct analog of this pattern in Russian. To say the phrase "in Ukraine" in Russian, you can say "в Украине" or "на Украине". "В Украине" literally means "in Ukraine", whereas "на Украине" literally means "on Ukraine". "Нa" is usually used for regions or geographic features, ...


19

I'd say you are correct about the placement of the generic word being the reason for using (or not using) 'the' , and all your examples are phrased correctly. Notice that 'Falls' is different also in that it is a plural. Edit: I have found the answer: From Wikipedia: In English, nouns must in most cases be preceded by an article that specifies the ...


19

Yes, the pattern that you mention is true. The reason for the difference is that "iron" is considered to be a so-called mass noun, or "uncountable". When you say something like "The dog is an animal" or "The corkscrew is a useful invention" etc, what you are basically saying is "Any prototypical example of a dog/corkscrew is...". In other words, for the ...


16

These say two different things. The most tuna are caught in early November. This means more tuna is caught in early November than any other comparable time frame. Here, 'most' is a superlative meaning "the amount that is greatest". It means the quantity of tuna caught in early November is greater than anything comparable, which would be tuna caught ...


14

It is true that "English native speakers use the definite article in front of a noun when they believe the hearer/reader knows exactly what they are referring to". For example: I went to a party last night. The party was boring, but I enjoyed the fireworks. In this case the definite article in the second sentence is being used to refer back to the party ...


14

Both versions are acceptable. If your friend was insisting that you must (as opposed to may) drop the article, then your friend was simply mistaken. Having said that.. Watching the television is more likely in informal than in formal contexts. From discussions on this page and from perusing google books, it seems there may be some difference at least in ...


13

I think we instinctively use determiners with countable things and omit them with non-countable things. "Windows" or "iOS" or "time" (the concept) are not countable, but "iPhone" and "PC" and "schedule" are. So we install run Windows on the PC and use iOS on the iPhone and report time on the schedule, but we do not run the Windows on PC or manage the time ...


13

The name of a language is sometimes preceded by the in this way, particularly in academic texts. It seems to be an ellipsed form of the Chinese orginal.


13

Perhaps use the indefinite article "a" sometimes instead? Or refer to things in general (or plural) or as mass nouns, so you avoid articles (see the first point here, and see this guide to how you can use nouns without articles). The main purpose of the presented applications is to visualize roses in space. A user can run around and experience the roses ...


12

Short answer: "The most" is correct here. Long answer: Most can be used as both a superlative and an intensifier. You are interested in the superlative use: of all the themes under consideration, these are the ones that are present in the greatest number. In formal usage, you would almost always want to use the definite article the with a superlative (...


12

Real estate is a precious commodity. The less you have to print on a sign, the smaller you can make it and less you have to spend on ink/paint/materials. But to answer your question; no, I wouldn't say that. I would read the sign as "Please use the other door."


12

These place names are used without "the" in sentences like "My flight is leaving from Heathrow Airport in forty minutes, and I'm only at Waterloo Station". (The rest of this answer is describing usage in London and the south-east of England, since you are asking about London place names. Usage in other places is different! As Colin Fine points out in the ...


12

As voxanimus noted, that use is incorrect. The only correct use I can think of that works that way is when speaking of a well-known individual. For example, in this exchange: Dennis Ritchie is dead. Not the Dennis Ritchie? dmr? The guy who developed C? That instance of the would be emphasized so that it would be pronounced just like the ...


12

Do not use an article in such a case. This is a common error made by non-native speakers. You do not use articles with proper names. For example, you would say "I went to a grocery store", but "I went to Smith's Grocery Store". Numbered figures or tables are generally treated as proper names. So, "See the second figure below" — descriptive, not a ...


12

Technically today, it seems Sudan is not the same thing as the Sudan. Sudan is the region: … Sudan is the name given to a geographic region to the south of the Sahara, stretching from Western to Eastern Africa. The name derives from the Arabic bilād as-sūdān (بلاد السودان) or "land of the Blacks" (an expression denoting West and Northern-...


11

I am no expert, but I am a native English speaker (American). I would interpret "I went to church" to mean "I attended a church service". "I went to the/a church" would imply I visited a building.


11

Your friend is almost there, but the key here is that in "what a beautiful day", the day does not refer to the day at hand at all. The day at hand is omitted from the sentence. "What a beautiful day [it is]", "What a beautiful day [this day is]". This becomes clearer still if you look at the same construction in closely related languages such as German. This ...


11

All of the potential answers are wrong. This is a famous quotation from Cicero. And it is invariably translated: History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time. (Or sometimes "history is the witness of the times", which may be closer to what Cicero meant.) You testify for or against somebody, but you testify to a fact or event. So (b) and (...


10

The etymology of The Hague (Den Haag in Dutch, La Haye in French, La Haya in Spanish) is that it used to be a Royal Enclosure (Hague => Edge) - possibly a stockade. The "the" is therefore a valid article. Also consider the followings: Los Angeles Las Vegas La Paz Le Havre (France) La Mancha (Spain) La Havana El Salvador La Rochelle (France) I realise ...


10

In addition to The Hague and The Bronx, there are a few other minor English placenames that still include a definite article, including The Plains, Virginia, and The Dalles, Oregon. This article postulates that the usage of articles in front of place names began simply as descriptions of the place, and that the place name evolved with common usage from ...


10

All friends is global: it means all friends of anybody anywhere, everybody who may be characterized as a friend. "All friends are to be cherished." All the friends (or All of the friends—there is no difference of meaning, as the responses to the question cited above by Xavier Vidal Hernández tell you) means all of a specific group of friends—the ...


10

You only capitalize The when it is the first word in a title of book or a play (etc), because the The is included in that name: We watched The Untouchables reruns all afternoon. I haven’t read The Treason of Isengard yet. My favorite film of his is The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. In contrast, the word the is not normally capitalized in front of proper ...


10

Ukraine means literally on the outskirts (and that was true from the Russian Empire point of view). I guess the would denote it's a descriptive name rather than a country name (that outskirts, not the other ones). So removing the makes sense, since currently the state is independent, its name is unique and doesn't require any additional classifiers.


10

"The Ukraine" is a region of the world that has existed for some time. "Ukraine" is the name of the country created after the fall of the USSR that more or less governs this region. Parts of what was usually considered part of the Ukraine might be in neighboring nations. Similarly, "The Great Plains" is a region in North America. It extends across part of ...


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