[Grammar] Article: Ship's name "Titanic"

naweewra

Member
Joined
May 19, 2011
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Thai
Home Country
Thailand
Current Location
Thailand
Hello,

Is a ship's name treated like a person's name? Do we need "the" in front of the name?

Titanic is one of the most well-known ships in modern history.

And do I have to italicise the ship's name? I have seen it done in print and on the net. I know that books' names are often italicised or used with quotation marks. What about ships' names?

Thank you.

Nawee
 

Rover_KE

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
Both versions are seen and heard. Click here to see a frequency of use chart.

Ships' names are usually italicised.



`
 
Last edited:

Raymott

VIP Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Australia
Current Location
Australia
Isn't there a problem with that chart? Wouldn't you have to subtract the lower chart from the upper to find the actually usage of "Titanic" alone? I suspect that every time "The Titanic" appears, it's counted once for 'Titanic' and once for "The Titanic" - ie. there are two counts, one for each term, making the count for "Titanic" twice as large as it should be. The chart certainly looks that way.
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
I would use the.
 

Roman55

Key Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2014
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Italy
Current Location
France
Isn't there a problem with that chart? Wouldn't you have to subtract the lower chart from the upper to find the actually usage of "Titanic" alone? I suspect that every time "The Titanic" appears, it's counted once for 'Titanic' and once for "The Titanic" - ie. there are two counts, one for each term, making the count for "Titanic" twice as large as it should be. The chart certainly looks that way.

I am not a teacher.

I agree with that, and since the ship known as the Titanic was finished in 1912 the first century of that chart is pretty worthless. Thereafter, the two uses are neck and neck until the film Titanic (without the article) was released in 1997 giving it a slight edge.
 

Barb_D

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I certainly use "the" before the names of ships. Navy ships too.
 

Raymott

VIP Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Australia
Current Location
Australia
Regarding navy ships. In Britain, a naval ship is called HMS Someship, and in Australia, HMAS Someothership. It sounds wrong to say "He sailed on the HMS Someship (the her majesty's ship Someship), although "He sailed on the Someship" sounds OK.
"The mutiny on the Bounty" but "The mutiny on HMS Bounty". But I could be wrong in practice.
 

Barb_D

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
The starship Enterprise.
I did my midshipman training on the USS El Paso, or the El Paso. Two years later, I was on the O'Bannon, a Spruance-class destroyer, named after the first ship in the class, the Spruance.
 
Last edited:

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
Isn't "the El Paso" tautological? Just a thought.

There's a restaurant where I grew up known as the L'auberge Inn. ;-)
 

Roman55

Key Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2014
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Italy
Current Location
France
I am not a teacher.

Brilliant! That's what's known as double tautology.
 

charliedeut

VIP Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2009
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Spanish
Home Country
Spain
Current Location
Spain
Isn't "the El Paso" tautological? Just a thought.

It is. "The" and "El" are the same article in English and Spanish.

Reminds me of the film "Mickey Blue Eyes", where Gina's relative (I disremember which one) owns a Restaurant called "The La Trattoria" :-D
 

Barb_D

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
No. El Paso is the name it the city and the ship named after it is "the El Paso". I'm sure you will also hear things like "the El Paso public library.

Boats are submarines. The big gray things that float on the water are ships.
 

Raymott

VIP Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Australia
Current Location
Australia
I'm still interested in what Americans call British ships. It was a serious question. A Google search for "HMS Victory" suggests that "The" is not used for such ships. It might also interest the OP.
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
In BrE, if we say HMS, then we mostly don't use the article, though you will find it used occasionally. If we drop HMS, then we would say the Victory.
 

SoothingDave

VIP Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2009
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I'm still interested in what Americans call British ships. It was a serious question. A Google search for "HMS Victory" suggests that "The" is not used for such ships. It might also interest the OP.

Not knowing any better, I would use a "the" with any country's ships.
 
Top