Could you tell if this is correct? Why sometimes the names of schools, museums and churches have the definite article while the others have not?

Kazimierz Wielki Primary School in Przedbórz

John Paul II Junior High School in Przedbórz

Folk Museum in Przedbórz

Church of Saint Alex in Przedbórz

Should I use "the" before the names? There is no "official name" in these cases (I mean whether is with "the" or not). What would you use? I know that with "of" phrases the article "the" is used but I also found a confusing case: In wikipedia there is the name:

the Johns Hopkins University

but on their website there is:

Johns Hopkins University

Could you explain this?

  • But I'd like the answer from native speakers what would they use in such cases? I'm not asking about the rules, but about these specific examples. – masterkomp Apr 18 '16 at 17:22
  • Hi, posting the same question is not allowed on Stack Exchange. Please delete this question on ELU. Definite article “the” with places/buildings. There is no hard and fast rule on using the definite article before a proper noun and you can search the internet for helpful references. – user24743 Apr 18 '16 at 17:34
  • You will see a lot of links in the first answer of this ELU question, Why does English use definite articles before certain proper nouns, such as the names of ships?. – user24743 Apr 18 '16 at 17:35
  • 2
    I am a native speaker! But since I don't actually know of "Johns Hopkins University", I've no idea whether they normally refer to the institution with an article or not. I can tell you that it's almost always The London School of Economics, but no-one ever includes an article with Oxford University, but you really need to just note how they refer to themselves and copy that. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Apr 18 '16 at 17:37
  • @Rathony - Cross-posting questions is discouraged on the Stack Exchange, but I wouldn't say it's "not allowed." – J.R. Apr 19 '16 at 12:51

It is not necessary to use the direct article as part of the name of schools, museums and churches. Thus I suggest the names of all four places in Przedbórz are fine without the.

If you want to say you went to (attended or visited), you can also omit the definite article with the schools and the church. With Folk Museum it sounds more natural to me to say 'I went to the Folk Museum'. This is because "folk museum" can refer to a type of museum, a folk museum as opposed to a science museum.

As for universities in the USA, there is no rule. Some universities like to include the as part of their name. To some this is an attempt to sound "more special" because the definite article refers to a specific (i. e., one) university, as in

The Ohio State University


The University of Texas at Austin

and other universities that include the in their official name. But outside of strict rigid adherence to official designations/names, people usually refer to them without the definite article or even their initials: OSU or UT.

(I have no idea what the "official" name of John Hopkins University is, but if it includes the, then it just works as the above two examples. And I believe the main concern of your question is whether you have to or should include the as part of the English names of the four places in Przedbórz, and my answer to that, again, is no.)

The same thing applies to museums some of which have the as part of their names and others of which do not. I suppose it's the same for churches, but I think the number of church buildings/congregations that use the as part of the name are few.

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    Technically, "The" is on the seal for Johns Hopkins and is an "official" part of their school's name and yet they don't use "The" on their website... whereas UT does... so that doesn't really help. – Catija Apr 18 '16 at 17:31

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