Why do we say
"The Golden Gate Bridge" or "The Eiffel Tower" but ...
"London Bridge" or "Tokyo Tower" ?
"The White House" but "Buckingham Palace" ?
Whats the rule plz for using "the ´ when referring to structures/buildings.
Thanks in anticipation.
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.
(1) I have bad news: there is no one rule that covers all
(2) The more you read, the more you will learn when native
speakers use the and when they do not.
(a) When I was young, we always said: The Ukraine is a beautiful
country. Today in the United States, it sounds "funny" to use the!!!
(3) When you are in doubt, just post the name of the structure or building
here, and someone will tell you what most native speakers use.
(4) I have checked my books and the Web, and I now present my
findings to you:
Why "London Bridge" but "The Golden Gate Bridge"?
Mr. L. G. Alexander in the Longman English Grammar explains the
difference like this:
The is sometimes part of the title, and sometimes, not.
(I'm sorry, but --as we Americans say -- that is how the
cookie crumbles. In other words, that is how things are, and
we cannot do anything about it!!!)
Why doesn't Buckingham Palace have a the?
Professor Quirk in A Comprehensive Grammar of the English
Language (which some people think is the best big grammar) says:
the rule is: proper noun + common noun. No the.
Buckingham (many years ago, there was a Duke of Buckingham = proper
noun) + palace (common noun).
Of course, the Professor reminds us that there are exceptions to that
Mr. David Appleyard on the Web says that we do not use the for "most"
(his word) places with just a name + noun:
Buckingham + Palace
Kennedy + Airport
Waterloo + Station.
Tokyo Tower. Why no the?
I googled it, and it seems that people have decided not to use the.
The White House. Why a the?
Mr. Appleyard says the "rule" is:
the + noun/adjective + noun.
the + White (adjective) + House.
His other examples include: The Empire State Building, The British
Why The Eiffel Tower?
One reason may (may!!!) be that the French is La tour Eiffel.
Another reason is that there is only one Eiffel Tower in the world.
How does the world-famous and world-respected BBC (British Broadcasting
Corporation) explain it? It says (I quote its website and the last two
words were put in bold by the BBC -- not by me):
It is more a case of Learn It.
(In other words, forget the "rules" and just memorize building by
You did not ask, but I thought you would like this "rule" which
actually seems to work most of the time: Use the if there is an of-phrase:
The Tower of London
The House of Commons
The Great Wall of China
The Statue of Liberty
Last edited by TheParser; 18-Aug-2010 at 22:54.