1. My house is 3 km away from downtown Alexandria.

2. I live in Alexandria. My house is 3 km away from (the) downtown.

Dictionaries list downtown as an adjective, adverb and noun. And so the two examples should be correct. However, I'm not sure which one sounds better, and whether dropping the in 2. is acceptable (as you'd drop it with town in: my school is the best in town)


2 Answers 2


There's a subtle difference here:

I'm not far from downtown.

I'm not far from the downtown.

Both are grammatical and idiomatic. But the downtown explicitly informs the listener that the place is one that has a downtown, and downtown without the article tells the listener that you assume they already know the place has a downtown, perhaps without even realizing that you're making that assumption.

So the meaning would be context-dependent, and could hinge on whether you believe you are speaking to someone who is familiar with your town, or has never heard of it, or on whether you have even considered the possibility that they may be unfamiliar with your town.

So, ultimately it's a question of familiarity.


If speaking idiomatically, your first sentence would be more natural:

My house is 3 km away from downtown.

This assumes that it's already known the city is Alexandria.

Or you could say:

My house is 3 km away from downtown Alexandria.

But the article would normally be dropped unless you add something more to the sentence:

My house is 3 km from the downtown (area) of Alexandria.

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