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Suppose we have a news report starting with a sentence of this kind:

Part of (the) Yamal Group and the developer of the Zerkalnaya mine, (the) North-Eastern Copper Company (NECC) has been unable to pay interest on its development loans.

Would it be wrong to use the definite articles (in bold) before the name of the group and the name of the company?

Both are proper names and both do not have THE as part of their name, but still I feel an urge to put the definite articles there, because the words preceding the Group and the Company feel like adjectives when I pronounce the sentence.

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I do not know of any reason it would be wrong to use the articles in bold. I would use them myself (N. Am. English native speaker).

But it's not just my opinion: this is the practice at The New York Times (search article cited for "the Clarett Group", a defunct developer for which the article "the" was never part of its name, as opposed to other companies like The Trump Organization, where "the" is part of the name). Other sources writing about the same developer also follow this practice (notice that the name in bold does not include the article "the").

This is also perfectly in line with usual practice when referring to other names made up of adjectives plus common nouns ("the New York Yankees", "the Catholic Church", "the Department of Homeland Security", etc).

A better question is, when would you not use "the"? The only time it would be obviously inappropriate is if you were referring to company names that can only be read as proper nouns:

Part of Microsoft and the developer of the Zerkalnaya mine, JetBlue Airlines has been unable to pay interest...

Here it would be obviously incorrect to say "the Microsoft" or "the JetBlue Airlines".

  • Thank you, Tiercelet! The articles are hard to grasp. So, in this page: uralchem.com/eng/assets/449/450 - should the first sentence begin with THE, despite it not being part of the plant's name ("Mineral Fertilizer Plant of Kirovo-Chepetsk Chemical Works")? – CowperKettle Jul 23 '14 at 3:49
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    If I were writing that page, I would definitely begin that sentence with "the." I am not sure whether I would use "The MFP KCCW" or just "MFP KCCW" later on. Because you've spelled it out, using "the" with the initials makes sense, but it appears so many times that it starts to sound like the formal title of the plant--when I stop thinking about what it stands for and use it as just a proper name, "the" becomes sort of unnecessary. This is an unusually tough case! – Tiercelet Jul 23 '14 at 15:16
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The rule I remember is we should not use the definite article before the firm or company unless the article is the part of the company's name.

A piece of news from CNBC

The team transferring from Nokia and the teams that have been part of Microsoft have each experienced a number of remarkable changes these last few years.

On the other hand...

The Times Group (also referred as Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd.) is the largest mass media company in India.

I found a good reference talking on this issue. This is the portion

If the word "company" is part of the official name of the company, as in "The Coca Cola Company," then it needs to be included, usually capitalized.

If the word "company" is not part of the official name, then using the word "company" after the official name technically makes the official name an adjective that serves to qualify the real noun, which is the word "company." In this case, you need the definite article, as in "I like working for the Cool_Dude.com company." I would rather say, "I like working for Cool_Dude.com," but I can imagine some situations where I want to clarify that I am talking about a company.

  • I don't know of anyone who refers to "The Coca Cola Company" in conversation. In conversation, it would be "I love all the products Coca-Cola makes." In a formal news article, you might see something like, "Analysts attribute GMCR’s stock jump to smart company agreements with The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO), Subway and others," but the example you've provided here does not seem like something I would expect to see in a formal news article. – J.R. Jul 23 '14 at 0:56
  • @Mauilik_V: I remember the same rule, thus I often doubt whether to put an article before a company name. – CowperKettle Jul 23 '14 at 3:54
  • @J.R. I'm not sure whether the OP is concerned only about the conversation and not writing. Anyway, the example removed. – Maulik V Jul 23 '14 at 4:53
  • The O.P. cites a news report, so I think the O.P. is probably at least concerned about formal writing. But I also think it's worth mentioning that the standards are generally very much relaxed in conversation, to the point where using articles and words like "Company" can sound downright awkward. – J.R. Jul 23 '14 at 9:17

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