We know that when a noun is followed by its proper name (or a number used as a name) the article is usually omitted:

I want to see _doctor Johnson

_British education expert Anthony Seldon believes that robots will substitute teachers

You can find utencils in _section 5d or you can go to _room 204

However, I've come across 3 interesting examples (all from the same text). The first 2 seem to follow the rule, but the 3rd one, despite having the same pattern, breaks the rule:

When _fast-food restaurant McDonald's (correct) realised that the market wanted healthier choices, they introduced fruit and salads

in 2006, _video games giant Nintendo (correct) introduced the game console Nintendo Wii (why "the"??)

all 3 come from a ESL text, published on the website of British Council (https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/skills/reading/b1-reading/innovation-in-business)

All the 3 examples have the same pattern: noun + proper name, however, in the 3rd one the article is not omitted.

When should I follow this rule and when should I not?

  • I've never heard the Wii called just "Wii", for what it's worth, always "the Wii".
    – stangdon
    Feb 3, 2023 at 18:07
  • Really? being a non-native, I always thought "Wii" was a proper name, not requiring any articles. Does "Wii" have any meaning as a noun? Feb 3, 2023 at 18:12
  • No, Wii doesn't mean anything as a noun in English. We do sometimes use articles with names in English, though - consider "the Parthenon".
    – stangdon
    Feb 3, 2023 at 18:38
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    There's nothing wrong with the British education expert Anthony Seldon or the fast-food restaurant MacDonalds. The article may be omitted, it doesn't have to be. Feb 3, 2023 at 18:48
  • 1
    That's right. (NB I only spotted this comment by chance because you didn't include my name!) Feb 4, 2023 at 10:02

1 Answer 1


I've always heard the Nintendo Wii referred to as "the Wii" in American English, at least when referring to the product in general.

  • Thanks, I was worried that my understanding of the rule was incorrect Feb 3, 2023 at 18:48
  • But does that actually answer the question? Suppose we changed the example: "Communications giant Apple has just released the new iPhone 9." So I think there's a more general issue in play. Feb 4, 2023 at 12:28

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