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  1. #1
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    Default Towns/villages and the "of" phrase

    Hello,

    Does anybody know why there is such a huge difference in usage of the article "the" in the names of the following towns and villages:

    No article despite the "of" phrase:

    Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago)
    Boat of Gartens (Scotland)
    Ciudad de Mexico

    Article "the":

    The Science City of Muņoz (Phillippines)
    The Islamic City of Marawi (as well)
    The City of San Marino (capital, not the Republic)

    I would appreciate any answers. Thanks

    Ewelina

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Towns/villages and the "of" phrase

    All the ones with the article have the word 'city' in the names, and we say 'the city of'.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Towns/villages and the "of" phrase

    Hi Ewelina,
    My guess is that Port of Spain and the like are full names, hence no articles; if you said the Port of of Spain it'd be understood as the port of Spain - as if you were talking abt a definite Spanish port, one of many others.
    I don't think The Islamic City of Marawi is marked so on the maps, it's just a set expression that provides some additional info; in the same vein one could say the multicultural city of N.York. As to the capitalization in the former I guess it just reflects the religious reverence.
    Regards

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Towns/villages and the "of" phrase

    You are right as to Port of Spain (its a complete Proper Noun relating to the capital city of the island). I guess I thought the "of " phrase ruled over Proper Nouns + the article "the".

    I know what you mean by the "City of ..." phrase. You equal two different cases:

    1) the City of San Marino (which is a complete Proper Noun, and the whole phrase states a difference between the name of the republic and its capital)

    2) but in the case of e.g. the City of New York, the City of Los Angeles you are referring and pointing out the municipal status and rights of New York and LA (administrative aspect).

    As to the Islamic City of..., the Science City of -- they areactually complete Proper Names of towns in the Phillippines (however strange they look to us).

    Any ideas how to eat this?

    Ewelina

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Towns/villages and the "of" phrase

    Sorry, I disagree. If they were complete names, I'd know them in Russian - just like Port of Spain. I wonder how San Marino can have its complete name with an English word - is English the official language there? I wish somebody more learned in geography gave the answer.
    Rgs

  6. #6
    Philly is offline Senior Member
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    Default Nyc

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    The City of New York is the official name of a city also known as New York City, and this city happens to be located in the state of New York.
    .

  7. #7
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Towns/villages and the "of" phrase

    Proper (place) nouns, their spelling, pronunciation, articles and prepositions are the exclusive property of the people who live there. There is not one single answer for all of the variation we hear. Every native can tell you his own favorite place-name story, no matter where he lives.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Towns/villages and the "of" phrase

    Quote Originally Posted by Humble View Post
    I wonder how San Marino can have its complete name with an English word - is English the official language there? I wish somebody more learned in geography gave the answer.
    Rgs
    We're talking about the official English translations of the names. The language spoken in San Marino is Italian.

    That said, the official name in Italian appears to be without the definite article: "Cittā di San Marino" (not "La Cittā..."), so it would literally be translated as "City of San Marino". However, that sounds inelegant in English, and we prefer either to use the definite article -- "the City of San Marino" -- or to use a different construction -- "San Marino City".

    "The City of...", in parallel with "the city of..." (where "city" is purely a description, not part of the actual name) is a set phrase. You simply have to use the definite article here.

    There are many place names which, in English, require the definite article. These include: the Hague and the Central African Republic, for example. Conversely, there are many places which require the definite article in its native language, but not in English: Iraq is one.

    Of course, you won't see any place names with the definite article in Russian. Russian doesn't have a definite article.

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    Default Re: Towns/villages and the "of" phrase

    Tnx, rewboss. Thank Lord we haven't got articles - there are many more peskier things in Russian grammar. I meant we don't have other words besides the name itself.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Towns/villages and the "of" phrase

    I think my post was hasty and thus, badly worded. I meant, In Russian grammar there are many more things that constitute serious problems for learners than English articles do.

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