Can I say, another example, 'the city London', without 'the', if I refer to the settlement itself, not "the city" within it (that financial district of London with skyscrapers and stuff)? I see no grammatical impediment not to do it. You wouldn't say 'the writer of Arthur Conan Doyle', right? Why wouldn't it work the same way with the names of cities?

  • It doesn't work with settlements - villages, towns, cities, also government subdivisions like counties, states, and also islands that I know of. Do not look at English expecting logic. Dec 13, 2019 at 19:03
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    You should say "the city of New York" if you want to sound like a typical English speaker. You're welcome to say "I'm going to the city, New York." You could also say, "I to New York, the city, will presently go." Most people will probably understand you; they'll just think you don't know English very well.
    – Juhasz
    Dec 13, 2019 at 19:31
  • @MichaelHarvey Would it be 'the village of [name]'? Dec 14, 2019 at 11:54
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    "The village of Eyam lost 260 people to plague in the 1660s"; "the newly constructed base at the village of Lai Khé"; "Since 2000, the village of Bages has been reborn"; all found by searching on Google for "the village of" (with quote marks before and after the phrase, which gives an exact-match search). Dec 14, 2019 at 13:18

2 Answers 2


Local idiom will define individual cases. So we have

New York City.


The City of London

This one refers only to the central financial district, within the old city walls and not the wider urban area, explicitly excluding Westminster, where Parliament, "Big Ben" and Buckingham Palace are located.

We don't generally use an appositive. We don't say "The City London". There is no logical reason for this. There is a poetic expression "London town" but this expression is idiomatic and you can't say "Paris town", for example.

Instead the most common is just to use the name of the city:

I'm going to London tomorrow.

I love New York.

  • This answer is totally correct but understated. The City of London and the capital city of the United Kingdom are completely different things. The City of London has its own police force. Its electorate is defined on totally different principles from the rest of the UK.
    – JeremyC
    Dec 13, 2019 at 22:57
  • Would it be 'the village of [name]'? Dec 14, 2019 at 5:28

The City of New York, usually referred to as either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY)... (source: Wikipedia)

"The city of New York" is the official name of the city. The prefix "The city of" is used in the official names of many cities in the United States and possibly in other countries. In most cases people refer to it as "New York City" or just "New York".

The reason that "city" is green attached after "New York" (more than other cities' names) is that New York is also a state, and in many cases there's a possible ambiguity. Similarly, the US capital is called "Washington, D.C." (and in casual speech usually just "DC" to distinguish it from the state of Washington (which is often called "Washington State").

  • You answered a different "why" than the one I asked Dec 14, 2019 at 5:24
  • The point is, most of the time you should use "New York City". Dec 14, 2019 at 9:46

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