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How to name a thing together with its name?

For example, are these correct sentences and do they mean the same?

  1. I like the chocolate "Milka"; I like chocolate the "Milka"; I like "Milka" the chocolate.
  2. I like the movie "The Batman"; I like the "The Batman" movie; I like "The Batman" the movie.
  3. I stay at the "National" hotel; I stay at the hotel "National"; I stay at "National" the hotel.
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    Just the name or brand, then the description or type of thing, no need for quotes- Milka chocolate, the Batman movie (if you are already talking about movies, you can just say 'Batman'), the National hotel (or National Hotel if the word 'hotel' is part of its official name). Colgate toothpaste, Texaco gasoline, Johnnie Walker whisky. Feb 26, 2020 at 12:34
  • On Wikipedia, I see that that hotel called "The Hotel National", not the National hotel or National Hotel. Why is that?
    – Let
    Feb 26, 2020 at 12:57
  • A hotel's name is chosen by its owner. A hotel could be called, for example, the National, the National Hotel, or the Hotel National. These are all different names. If the hotel is officially called, by its owners, the "Hotel National", then that is its name. Feb 26, 2020 at 13:06
  • @MichaelHarvey Let me get this straight - Colgate toothpaste or the Colgate toothpaste?
    – Let
    Feb 26, 2020 at 16:48
  • Have you tried Google? Feb 26, 2020 at 18:04

1 Answer 1

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I know these constructions are normal in Europe, but they are not used in English.

For a product or movie, etc., you can simply say I like [item name]. You can sometimes say I like [item name] [item], but not in all instances.

For example: I like Milka or I like Milka chocolate: The first is normal usage. The second, however, implies that you want to emphasize either the brand or the item, e.g. I like Milka chocolate [as opposed to other Milka products] or I like Milka chocolate [as opposed to Nestle chocolate]

For general purposes though, I like Milka is the most common construction.

As for the movie, it's also acceptable (almost mandatory) to remove the initial "The" from the name if it doesn't make sense in the sentence, such as I like Batman vs. I like the movie Batman.

Again, the first is normal speech in situations where everyone knows you're talking about a movie. However, you might use the second construction if the people you're talking with aren't sure whether you're talking about the TV show Batman, the comic book Batman, the character Batman, etc.

You could also say I like the movie "The Batman" since you're quoting a proper name, but it would sound awkward.

For the hotel, it is most common to say I'm staying at the National. You could also say I'm staying at the National hotel, but it's a bit formal.

(Also, when you say I stay at a hotel, that means you do it generally, not at a specific time, e.g. Whenever I'm in Paris I stay at the National hotel vs. I'm staying at the National hotel in Paris next week.

If you were at a party and said I work in a car factory, it would mean that you work at a car factory as your job in general. But even though you work at a car factory, you're not making cars while you're at the party.)

As a rule, you can feel confident that simply using the proper name of a product, movie, etc. (without quotes!!), is correct. If your intent is not obvious from the context of the conversation, then you can be more specific (e.g. Milka chocolate instead of just Milka).

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  • In the UK we say 'film' more than 'movie'. Feb 26, 2020 at 21:24
  • So is it "Harry Potter movies" or "the movies Harry Potter"?
    – Let
    Feb 26, 2020 at 23:14
  • The "Harry Potter" movies
    – oaker
    Feb 28, 2020 at 1:53
  • @oaker Why is there the definite article put in front of "Harry Potter" in your example but there's none in front of Milka chocolate?
    – Let
    Feb 28, 2020 at 9:40
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    We're getting into some mushy territory here, since there is probably an exception to everything I'll tell you here. "Harry Potter movies" are a distinct "thing" that people know. Leaving out the definite article makes them sound more like a category or genre. It's better to leave out the definite article when saying "I like wizard movies" or "I like action movies." Those are general categories, not definite, distinct entities. If you said "I like the action movies," people would ask "Which ones?" But nobody has to ask about the Harry Potter movies.
    – oaker
    Feb 29, 2020 at 21:49

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