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  1. #1
    Verona_82 is offline Senior Member
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    using 'the' with some geographical names

    Hello!

    According to what all grammars say, we should use 'the' with the names of canals.
    the Suez Canal, the Panama Canal.

    In the city where I live there's a canal called "Griboedov Canal' (after a well-known Russian playwright). Should I refer to it as 'THE Griboedov Canal" or just 'Griboedov Canal"? The question arose after I saw a Wiki artcile where the definite article was omitted. Is that the author's mistake or is there something that my grammars keep quiet about? Google also gave a surprising number of hits where the afticle was omitted as well.

    Thank you in advance!
    Last edited by Verona_82; 19-Nov-2010 at 20:56.

  2. #2
    buggles's Avatar
    buggles is offline Key Member
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    Re: using 'the' with some geographical names

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Hello!

    According to what all grammars say, we should use 'the' with the names of canals.
    the Suez Canal, the Panama Canal.

    In the city where I live there's a canal called "Griboedov Canal' (after a well-known Russian playwright). Should I refer to it as 'THE Griboedov Canal" or just 'Griboedov Canal"? The question arose after I saw a Wiki artcile where the definite article was omitted. Is that the author's mistake or is there something that my grammars keep quiet about? Google also gave a surprising number of hits where the afticle was omitted as well.

    Thank you in advance!
    In the UK, we always use "the". It's the same with mountain ranges and rivers - it's always the Himalayas, the Cairngorms, the Thames, the Manchester Ship Canal and so on. I can't think of any examples where we don't use "the" for these things.

    I don't know if this is significant, but none of these things that need "the" has a definite location.

    e.g. In Lancashire, we might go to the Lake District, the Peak District, the Scottish highlands and so on, but we go to Blackpool, Buxton and Inverness (no "the").

    Don't know whether that helps or confuses you, but that's how things are here.

    buggles (not a teacher)
    Last edited by buggles; 21-Nov-2010 at 22:44. Reason: "have" in line 4 should have been "has" - "none...has"

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Re: using 'the' with some geographical names

    Part of the problem may be the influence of the local language. For example, I live in the Czech Republic, the correct name for it in English. In the Czech language, the definite article is not used for the name of the country, with the result that many Czechs refer to their own country as Czech Republic when they speak English. Those native speakers of English who have lived here long enough have a tendency to call it Czech Republic, even though this is incorrect, simply because we have heard it so often. Could it be that this is what has happened to your Russian lake?

    If I (not having lived in Russia), saw your lake in an English atlas marked as Griboedov Canal, I would automatically refer to it as the Griboedov Canal.

    p.s. Articles are rarely used in names given on maps.
    Last edited by 5jj; 21-Nov-2010 at 13:50. Reason: misplaced closing bracket

  4. #4
    riquecohen's Avatar
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    Re: using 'the' with some geographical names

    Quote Originally Posted by buggles View Post
    In the UK, we always use "the". It's the same with mountain ranges and rivers - it's always the Himalayas, the Cairngorms, the Thames, the Manchester Ship Canal and so on. I can't think of any examples where we don't use "the" for these things.

    I don't know if this is significant, but none of these things that need "the" have a definite location.

    e.g. In Lancashire, we might go to the Lake District, the Peak District, the Scottish highlands and so on, but we go to Blackpool, Buxton and Inverness (no "the").

    Don't know whether that helps or confuses you, but that's how things are here.

    buggles (not a teacher)
    It's pretty much the same in AmE. One question I have concerns "High Streets" in England. I've heard people call the street Kensington High Street and have also heard it referred to as the High Street, with the article. Any explanation?

  5. #5
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    Re: using 'the' with some geographical names

    Quote Originally Posted by riquecohen View Post
    It's pretty much the same in AmE. One question I have concerns "High Streets" in England. I've heard people call the street Kensington High Street and have also heard it referred to as the High Street, with the article. Any explanation?
    Generally speaking (now there's a cop-out for you) we do not use the with names of streets and roads; otherwise we follow normal conventions for determiners. So:

    I was driving along London Road ... (that's its name).
    I was driving along the London Road ... (the road that leads to London).

    High Street is a law unto itself. When these words refer to the central, main street of a town (which has some other name), we follow the normal conventions. When they are the name of the road, some people use the, others don't.

    Note that in many towns in Britain there are streets and roads which are preceded by the for no apparent reason.

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