We normally say Cambridge University and New York Airport.
But why do we say the Baikonur Cosmodrome? All of them appear to be more or less the same. According to grammar, when the name of a place is preceded by the name of another person or place no article is used. That is what one reads in the grammar texts.
Re: baikonur cosmodrome
First, proper names are specific enough, so they don't require an article. Which is why, for example, this phrase the Cambridge University sounds odd if left unmodified. Modify it, though, and it works;e.g., Are we talking about the Cambridge University I attended?
Second, from what I can tell based on the distribution of this name Baikonur Cosmodrome, it appears that there are two ways to express it:  with an article when the facility itself is emphasized, and  without an article when the location, the place is emphasized:
 The Baikonur Cosmodrome is the oldest and largest operational space launch facility in the world.
 In 1957, some fifty years ago, the world's first artificial satellite, Suptnik-1, was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome. Since the launch, the Cosmodrome ...
Now, that's not to say every speaker, English, Russian-English, and so on, adhere to the same distributional patterns above. But what we do know is that there is a pattern and it's more regular than irregular.
Does that help?
the baikonur cosmodrome
Cambridge University and New York Airport look more or less the same as Baikonur Cosmodrome. Neverrtheless why do we say the Baikonur Cosmodrome?
Re: the baikonur cosmodrome
My dear Casiopea,
I am rather puzzled at the way English people use the definite article before proper nouns. I have just had a look at two internet articles about the(?) CNN from Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica. Wikipedia people use "CNN" without the definite article whereas Britannica people prefer the "articled" variety. Are there any prominent differences between American and British English in the use of the definite article before proper nouns? Could you direct me to some informative website or well-written grammar book that might help shed some light on the matter? I have posted a lot of questions pertaining to use of the deifinite article but the matter is getting more and more complicated. I have explored a lot of websites about the use of the definite article before proper nouns but most of them cover only the bare minimum information,that is to say the stuff I learnt at school and college.They do not delve into the matter. A celebrated rule of the definite article is that it is used to refer to something unique but it often turns out that when there is reference to something unique no definite article is used as in CHINUA ACHEBE IS CURRENTLY(?) CHARLES P. STEVENSON PROFESSOR OF LANGUAGES AND LITERATURE AT BARD COLLEGE.
By balakrishnanijk in forum Ask a Teacher
Last Post: 16-Aug-2007, 15:53
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