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    #1

    articles with names of lakes and waterfalls

    Hello,

    I'm trying to find out whether we should use the definite article with the names of waterfalls and lakes when the latter are not preceeded by the word 'Lake". For example, should we say

    the Ontario (but Lake Ontario)
    the Baikal ?

    The books I'm reading at the moment seem to have conflicting opinions. I'm also not sure about the names of waterfalls. Should we say

    the Niagara Falls
    the Victoria Falls
    ?

    I'd be very grateful for help!
    Last edited by Verona_82; 12-Mar-2011 at 16:19.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: articles with names of lakes and waterfalls

    If I heard 'the Ontario', I would imagine it to be a river, not a lake. I don't think I would ever use the definite article, regardless of whether I used the word 'lake'.

    I don't think I'd use it for waterfalls, either, but I don't speak about waterfalls enough to be sure.

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    #3

    Re: articles with names of lakes and waterfalls

    Thank you, 5jj!
    It's strange that my book says so. You can't be sure about anything these days

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    #4

    Re: articles with names of lakes and waterfalls

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    It's strange that my book says so. You can't be sure about anything these days
    Do note my use of 'I would imagine' and ' I don't think'. I was passing on my personal views, not handing down infallible rules.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: articles with names of lakes and waterfalls

    I would interpret "the Ontario" as a river as well.
    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.

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    #6

    Re: articles with names of lakes and waterfalls

    I've dug into my geographical memory and no lake I can think of is referred to with an article before it. Some waterfalls are, however:

    "We flew over the Hunlen Falls and had a wonderful view of them before landing on Turner Lake."

    The definite article here could have been left out, but is often included. Why? My guess is that it may be this way for waterfalls less famous than the big few, such as Niagara, Victoria, etc.

    Some lakes can be spoken of without 'Lake' attached (Baikal, Titicaca, Windermere, etc) when the listener is already aware of what you are talking about, but you would still not use an article.

    It's strange that rivers are so different in this respect: the Thames, the River Thames, the Amazon, the Nile, etc.

    And then there are mountains...

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    #7

    Re: articles with names of lakes and waterfalls

    It's always good to have the exception to the rule: The Great Salt Lake in Utah.
    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.

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