When often hear on TV, such as "This is CNN" or "This is BBC World". There is no "THE" before the name of the TV. So far so good.

However, I have recently been listening to some scientific panel speeches from the BBC web site. And something caught my attention. Both at the beginning and at the end of those scientific programs, there is an announcement:"This is the BBC".(there is THE).

So my question is: why is it just "CNN" or "BBC World" on TV, but it is "The BBC" on those scientific programs?


2 Answers 2


"BBC" and "CNN" are both acronyms, or more accurately, initialisms.

The general rule of thumb for using the definite article with an initialism is that if "the" is part of the full name you should include it too in the initialism. Therefore, with the full name of the BBC being the British Broadcasting Corporation, you should refer to it as the BBC.

CNN, on the other hand, stands for Cable News Network. That's why it is simply referred to as CNN, without "the".

In the case of "BBC world", "BBC" as an attributive noun modifies "world", the head of the noun phrase. You don't need the definite article when the initialism is part of a noun phrase as a modifier. Compare: U.S. colleges and the U.S.


My native language is English but English is not my career.

I think the answer is entirely a matter of when to use the word "the". I have tried to explain that and it is difficult to explain all situations. In this situation, the British Broadcasting Company is one broadcasting company of many broadcasting companies. So it is normal to say the BBC because it is one of many.

You ask why "the" is not used for CNN and BBC World. If CNN was called "The CNN" then that would not seem strange to me, so it seems to be more a matter of choice. "The BBC World" does sound strange to me, however. There is only one world that "BBC World" refers to.

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