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    • Join Date: Dec 2007
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    Exception to the rule

    We are told that with historical events, the definite article should be used; for example,
    The Iraq War has divided the international public.
    The Renaissance started in Italy and slowly spread throughout Europe.

    In this respect, I would like to know the reason why the follwing expression is an exception:
    This course surveys the second wave of English Romanticism.

    We say Mars, Mercury, Venus (without an article) are the planets of the universe. However, why "the planet Mars" needs one?
    And lastly, "Barthez has never been the goalkeeper of Crystal Palace FC."
    Why a definite article is absent before Crystal Palace FC?

    Thank you.
    Last edited by Deepurple; 03-Nov-2009 at 05:36.

    • Member Info
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    • Join Date: Oct 2008
    • Posts: 1,211

    Re: Exception to the rule

    When you say English Whatever, you have already employed a modifying word (English) to distinguish it from the Whatever in General.

    As for Mars, or the planet Mars, when you call it Mars, you have identified it precisely. When you refer to "the planet" you need to continue to say which one (Mars). You can't say "we saw planet Mars" as there are several planets, and so you need the definitive article.

    It's very hard to really come to grips with. Only practice will help. For example, we say the Queen lives in Buckingham Palace but the President lives in the White House. It's because "Buckingham" is not really an adjective - it's part of its name as a proper noun, as the castle was Lord Buckingham's in the first place (perhaps it would be easier to say, she lives in Buckingham's Palace, but as he doesn't own it anymore, it's no longer his and has lost the possessive). Meanwhile, "white" will always be an adjective - it's white, not pink, so it's the White House.

    If you change your thinking to imagine that the house was built in 1789 by John White, then today we would be saying that Mr Obama lives in White House.

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