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    #1

    british and american

    Is it all right to say in American English the airplane has landed at the John F Kennedy International Airport? Michael Swan in his grammar states that the definite article is unusual before proper names of airports, harbors and museums.

  1. Ouisch's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: british and american

    No. American speakers wouldn't use the indefinite article. We'd say either "the plane landed at John F. Kennedy International airport," or, more likely, simply "the plane landed at JFK."


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    #3

    Re: british and american

    Quote Originally Posted by balakrishnanijk View Post
    Is it all right to say in American English the airplane has landed at the John F Kennedy International Airport? Michael Swan in his grammar states that the definite article is unusual before proper names of airports, harbors and museums.
    I don't think this is an issue between American or British English. The correct sentence would not have any article (definate or indefinate) before a proper name.

    The airplane has landed at John F Kennedy International Airport.

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    #4

    Re: british and american

    I think that the use of the definite article in these cases is completely idiomatic.

    Before the plane landed at J.F.K. airport, it flew over the Museum of Modern Art, the Empire State Building, Columbia University, and the Brooklyn Navy Yards.


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    #5

    Re: british and american

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner View Post
    I think that the use of the definite article in these cases is completely idiomatic.

    Before the plane landed at J.F.K. airport, it flew over the Museum of Modern Art, the Empire State Building, Columbia University, and the Brooklyn Navy Yards.
    You are correct. It seems that it is something that just must be memorized..I don't think it could be described as idiomatic here since there is no change of meaning.

    I have been trying to think of some rules

    Columbia University, New York State University, McGill University have no definite article,but there is when we say The University of Southern California, The University of Manitoba

    I cannot think of an example of a university name where "University" is the first word in its name where "The" is not used...similarly I cannot think of one university where "the" is used if the university is not the first word.

    Similarly if "Institute" is anywhere in the title of the institution then I believe "the" is always used, I cannot think of an example without this.

    With respect to countries if seems if the country has a plural it uses "the" (the United States of America, the Netherlands, the Lesser Antilles). If there are words like republic, kingdom, dominion in the name then "the" is used...otherwise there is no definite article used.

    these are only two examples but the list of geographic anomalies with respect to article usage is very long.

    It is funny though since, as native English speakers, we don't seem to have a problem deciding whether we should or should not use "the" with proper names. When it is wrong it just doesn't sound right. It is a poor explanation to non-native speakers but it is true.

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    #6

    Re: british and american

    Quote Originally Posted by Naamplao View Post
    Similarly if "Institute" is anywhere in the title of the institution then I believe "the" is always used, I cannot think of an example without this.
    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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    #7

    Re: british and american

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner View Post
    I think that the use of the definite article in these cases is completely idiomatic.

    Before the plane landed at J.F.K. airport, it flew over the Museum of Modern Art, the Empire State Building, Columbia University, and the Brooklyn Navy Yards.
    Normally, we do not use the definite article in the following situations. Mind you, exceptions are always there:
    Proper Noun(Name) + airport (except "the airport" alone)
    More often than not, renown international buildings do not have the definite article, like Alexandra House.(Unless the adjective of the building carries the definite article itself: Empire State Building: Official Internet Site )
    of-phrase in museums and universities (But there are some exceptions in that the of-phrase of the museums and universities does not carry the definite article itself, like City University of Hong Kong)
    If it is a district, we use the definite article - the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

    Last but not least: Proper nouns... + kindergartens, + schools, + colleges, + institutes, + universities do not normally have the definite article before them. (Again, exceptions exist. If in doubt, you'd better check it up in the insititution's website.)

    (not a teacher.)
    Last edited by albertino; 29-Sep-2007 at 07:03.

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