[zero article] when nouns lost their articles if there were any?
Thread poster: Surgeon

Surgeon
English
Mar 18, 2003

Is there any way to explain:

Lake Chad

London

Steve (name)

- lost their articles?

May be there were articles but these words (and especially personal names) were repeated many times (a hundred times a day)and may be that was the reason? we want everything simple, right?


 

Klaus Dorn (X)
Local time: 03:18
German to English
+ ...
rules of English Mar 19, 2003

A book could be written on article usage, but I left it at 30 pages, which I\'m happy to send to you...in a nutshell, we have to use \"the\", if the noun is either:


- preceded by a superlative (e.g. the biggest)


- has been described further (e.g. the man I met on holiday)


- has been mentioned for the second time (e.g. I bought a car, the car is blue)


- is known to both speaker/writer and listener/reader (e.g. listener knows speaker walks every evening in a park near his home, so speaker can use \"the park\" in telling the listener about last night)


- is unique (e.g. the Pope)


This last one is the problem, because geography and people are exceptions here. Geography (just to remember a few rules), we never say \"the\" in front of city names, streets, countries with the exception of the USA, the UK, the Netherlands and maybe a few others, which have some sort of qualifier before the actual name. We don\'t say \"the\" in front of mountains, but in front of groups of mountains we do. An exception here are mountains with \"foreign names\", such as \"the Matterhorn\". (The rules what qualifies a foreign name are quite unclear). We don\'t say \"the\" in front of lakes, but in front of groups of lakes we do. We say \"the\" in front of desert names, rivers, gulfs, peninsulas and regions. Like I said, the list is endless...


With names of people, we never say the except if we want to emphasize a famous person, e.g. \"I met the Elizabeth Taylor\" (the actress) and not another Elizabeth Taylor, who might, incidentially, have the same name.


Like I said, I could send you a document. Write me an email and I\'ll email it to you.


Have fun with the rules of the English language!


 

PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:18
English to Polish
+ ...
??? Mar 19, 2003

I am not quite sure I catch your drift...


Pawel Skalinski


 

John Bowden  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:18
German to English
Klaus' reply is an excellent summary of the use of articles Mar 19, 2003

However, I don\'t understand your question either - none of the examples you give have ever had articles at any stage in the development of English, and it\'s got nothing to do with \"repetition\"...


If you\'ve been asked by a learner of EFL why proper nouns don\'t have an article in English, the only answer is - because it\'s English, not the learner\'s L1!


 

Andrey Chirikba
Local time: 02:18
English to Russian
+ ...
The = that, which is not needed for proper nouns Apr 8, 2003

AFAIK, the definite article \"the\" was derived from the demostrative \"that\" (compare the Dutch \"de\" = \"the\" and \"die\" = \"that\"; I guess, in German it\'s pretty much the same). And it does make sense (you can substitute the the\'s for that\'s, it would just sound as if you are trying to emphasise the noun; just try it on this message). OTOH, the proper names imply that both the speaker and the person he is addressing know this name, and it therefore doesn\'t need any further clarification. (Yeah, there are exceptions; names of rivers, e.g.).


Hope this helps.


 

Libero_Lang_Lab  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:18
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
Lake Chad article Apr 10, 2003

You might be interested in this Surgeon:


http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=4714


I believe that Lake Chad was named after a guy called Chad who discovered it. Lake was in fact his surname - he was married to the famous Hollywood actress Veronica Lake. She was the real article. Great legs.



 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:18
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Mr. Chad Apr 10, 2003

That must be the same Chad who failed to get elected President by Florida in the last election.

 

Libero_Lang_Lab  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:18
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
Jack Apr 10, 2003

Not sure about that - There were thousands of them weren\'t there?




 

Libero_Lang_Lab  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:18
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
Articles are optional Apr 10, 2003

I always ask to be referred to as The Dan; unless, of course, I am attending a judo convention, in which case I tend to place a number rather than an article before my name to help distinguish myself from the other Dans - 1st Dan, 2nd Dan, 3rd Dan etc.


Hope this helps.


 

Libero_Lang_Lab  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:18
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
And you might find yourself asking.... Apr 10, 2003

...why is it The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, but not The Pink Floyd or The Status Quo. I know I do. And there is a group called The The - surely a blatent breach of all grammatical norms. Absurd. I try not to lose sleep over it though.

 


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