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This dictionary says:

  1. 'the whole of' and 'whole'

When you talk about the whole of something, you mean all of it.

We were there for the whole of July.

I felt pain throughout the whole of my body.

Instead of using "the whole of" in front of a noun phrase beginning with "the", you can simply use "whole" after "the". For example, instead of saying 'The whole of the house was on fire', you can say 'The whole house was on fire'.

I spent the whole day in the library.

They're the best team in the whole world.

However, this person says

You should use 'the whole of', not 'the whole', before proper nouns and pronouns, for example, you say 'the whole of Europe', 'the whold of it', etc.

you say 'the whole of London', not 'the whole London'.

That person made me feel bad about myself because I often say "The whole London".

Check this Ngram, people do use "The whole Paris" though "The whole of Paris" is more common

& Check this Ngram, people do use "The whole London" though "The whole of London" is more common

So, is "the whole London" wrong?

3

you say 'the whole of London', not 'the whole London'.

Your friend is right, it should be "the whole of London", and you have been misled by the Ngrams.

If you click through to read the actual examples of "the whole London", you'll find they include:

  • Reflections upon the Whole, London, 1705.
  • Since, on the whole, London men did not marry until ...
  • ...to the whole London area...
  • [from a grammar book] Thus we could not say 'the whole London'...
  • On the whole, London pubs...

No doubt if you click through to the examples of "the whole Paris" you'll find the same sorts of thing.

To be clear, expressions like "the whole London area" are perfectly correct because "London" is acting attributively (almost like an adjective). "The whole London area" is akin to "the whole area of London". "Whole" is modifying "area" rather than "London".

Where "London" is acting as a noun, it has to be "the whole of London".

  • There are senses, ironic or for emphasis, where one might say something like "I want to understand the whole London" or "I wish I knew the whole John".It seems to carry an implication that what one is getting is perhaps a biased abridgement. – WS2 Aug 29 '17 at 7:12
  • The title of this article "“Best place to view the whole London.” & It was written by a native tripadvisor.com/… – Tom Aug 29 '17 at 7:54
  • @Tom I would argue that in that context it is idiomatic. – WS2 Aug 29 '17 at 19:42
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Your answer is in your question:

Instead of using "the whole of" in front of a noun phrase beginning with "the", you can simply use "whole" after "the". For example, instead of saying 'The whole of the house was on fire', you can say 'The whole house was on fire'.

Since the city is "London" and not "the London" it is "the whole of London".

It has nothing to do with it being a proper noun. For example you can use either "the whole United Kingdom" or "the whole of the United Kingdom" because the nation is called "the United Kingdom".

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