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    #1

    The

    I have been reading about the use of the definite article The in one of the posts sent recently. The use of this word it is sometimes really difficult.
    I met a pair of examples concerning this topic. Can anyone explain the reason why in one of the sentence the article is used while in the other isn't?

    The most beautiful girl in the world

    The most beautiful girl on Earth.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by ratóncolorao; 21-Apr-2010 at 17:50.

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    #2

    Re: The

    "The" is not used for names, very few exceptions like "the United States".

    Examples:
    Correct: She lives in Texas.
    Incorrect: She lives in the Texas.

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    #3

    Re: The

    -- I am not an ESL teacher anymore --

    Quote Originally Posted by ratóncolorao View Post
    I have been reading about the use of the definite article The in one of the posts sent recently. The use of this word it is sometimes really difficult.
    I met a pair of examples concerning this topic. Can anyone explain the reason why in one of the sentence the article is used while in the other isn't?

    The most beautiful girl in the world

    The most beautiful girl on Earth.

    Thank you.


    I don't know the answer to your question precisely, but I'll give it a try.

    Take a look at this example from another thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    When students asked me about the difference between "the" and "a" I often came up with this example: In a certain room there are nine black chairs and one white chair.
    The teacher may tell a coming student either:

    - Please come in, pick up a black chair and have a seat.
    - Which one?
    - Anyone you wish, but not that white one.

    or

    - Please come in, pick up the white chair and have a seat.
    - Which one?
    - That white one over there.
    In the second situation from the example above, there is only one white chair, but there could be more than one. I mean there exists other white chairs somewhere else.

    In your example 'Earth' is only one, because as Tepal said, it is a name. It is named to be unique. On the other hand, in principle, there could be more worlds (who knows?) - but you want to emphasize that she is the most beautiful girl precisely in this world, so you use 'the'. It is only one world, the world, but there could be others (as it is not a proper noun).

    PS Not a native speaker

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    #4

    Re: The

    Quote Originally Posted by Tepal View Post
    "The" is not used for names, very few exceptions like "the United States".

    Examples:
    Correct: She lives in Texas.
    Incorrect: She lives in the Texas.
    I agree with Tepal regarding nouns. And I tried to justify it somehow with my post above.
    Concerning the exception (the United States) I think it is very properly explained
    in this thread https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/a...1-country.html

    From that thread, particularly take a look at the following quote by orangutan:
    Quote Originally Posted by orangutan View Post
    I think the main point is that the country names that require "the" are made up of common nouns and adjectives, rather than being proper nouns in their own right. This is true also of "the Nether Lands". I'm not sure about the Philippines, but I think it may be short for the Philippine Islands.

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    #5

    Re: The

    Unique objects usually take the definite article "the", e.g. "the world", "the Himalays", "the Grand Canyon" and while "the earth" is also unique and can be used with "the" it is also one of several "fixed expressions" where "the" is not used, such as "on foot", "on horseback", "on trial", "on Mars" (and other planets).

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    #6

    Re: The

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    Unique objects usually take the definite article "the", e.g. "the world", "the Himalays", "the Grand Canyon" and while "the earth" is also unique and can be used with "the" it is also one of several "fixed expressions" where "the" is not used, such as "on foot", "on horseback", "on trial", "on Mars" (and other planets).
    Yes, a simple search in google returns many instances for "the earth" - about 61,300,000. But I guess in these situation the word 'earth' is kind of working like 'world' (there could be more than one earth) - that is language dynamically changing.

    Concerning 'the Grand Canyon', in principle there could be other 'canyons', for instance a 'Small Canyon' or something like that. In "the Himalayas" case I guess it stands for "The Himalayas Range" (Himalayas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) and, once more, there could be other 'ranges'.

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    #7

    Re: The

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    Yes, a simple search in google returns many instances for "the earth" - about 61,300,000. But I guess in these situation the word 'earth' is kind of working like 'world' (there could be more than one earth) - that is language dynamically changing.

    Concerning 'the Grand Canyon', in principle there could be other 'canyons', for instance a 'Small Canyon' or something like that. In "the Himalayas" case I guess it stands for "The Himalayas Range" (Himalayas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) and, once more, there could be other 'ranges'.
    "The Grand Canyon" is a national park in the state of Arizona and would fit within the category of "unique objects" as opposed to other unnamed canyons of lesser significance.

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    #8

    Re: The

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    "The Grand Canyon" is a national park in the state of Arizona and would fit within the category of "unique objects" as opposed to other unnamed canyons of lesser significance.
    Yes, billmcd, I understand that. What I am trying to say is that, in principle, there could be other canyons. It is the same as the United States. Of course no one will deny the uniqueness and importance of the United States, but in principle there could exist other ones. What I stated in my posts above is simply an idea I've just had.

    Maybe we are saying the same thing. What I claim is that "The Grand Canyon" is a 'unique object' from other possible 'canyons' which justifies the article 'the'. By a similar reasoning "the world" in the OP's example is a unique one.

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    #9

    Re: The

    Let me try to clarify further my point.

    Take a look at what Barb_D replied to my chairs example:
    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    In a certain room there are nine black chairs and one white chair.
    The teacher may tell a coming student either:

    - Please come in, pick up a black chair and have a seat.
    - Which one?
    - Anyone you wish, but not that white one.

    or

    - Please come in, pick up the white chair and have a seat.
    - Which one?
    - That white one over there.
    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    With your second one, I'd be more likely to say "The only white chair you see!" But then, I don't have much patience. It's one of the reasons I'd be a terrible teacher!
    We may try to extend Barb_D's reply to the OP's example:

    - She is the most beautiful girl in the world.
    - Which world?
    - The only world you see! (That means, there could be other worlds, but when 'the' is used, it is clear for everybody which one we are talking about).

    Another one:
    - I have visited the Grand Canyon.
    - Which one?
    - The only one exists! (Again in principle there could be other canyons, but the article 'the' selects the only special one)

    Regarding the other OP example:
    - She is the most beautiful girl on Earth!
    - (*Which Earth?) (There is no way to ask this question here, there is no possibility of another Earth.)

    As I said, if you use the article 'the' you are assuming there could be another earth:
    - She is the most beautiful girl in the Earth.
    - Which Earth?
    - The only one exists.


    Not a native speaker

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    #10

    Re: The

    thanks to you all !

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