Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now
62

When a person has said many things over the course of their life, those statements may not always be perfectly consonant with one another. Using the definite article the is an acknowledgement of that dissonance or lack of agreement between one statement and another: Where's the President Trump who promised a middle-class tax break? It's as if to say ...


51

"chikungunya" and "yellow" are, respectively, a common Makonde word meaning "something bending up", and a color name. Therefore, neither is capitalized. However, "Zika" is a proper noun, named after a forest in Africa; therefore, it's capitalized.


42

The latter is correct. If the meaning is essentially There should or must never be any additional uses of nuclear bombs on cities or against people, as occurred in Hiroshima (and in Nagasaki) in August, 1945, it must be No more Hiroshimas. People who use this expression are likely using Hiroshima to stand for the bombings of both cities. Hiroshima then, ...


30

Capitalization is stylistic choice, and people may choose to capitalize things that you don't normally see capitalized. There are a couple of guidelines that come up in a simple search, and this is one of them. There's no unilateral consensus, but there are conventions. Chicago Manual of Style is another eminent manual that is both loathed and loved at the ...


29

You should not use the in The war campaign has shot up Putin's ratings. Yes, the noun "ratings" is definite, but it already has a word that indicates whose ratings they are: Putin's ratings. You may think of it as The war campaign has shot up his ratings. Words like "his, her, their" are called "possessive determiners". The definite article "the" ...


26

Sure they can. In English it's pretty common to use an iconic (or notorious) proper noun to refer to similar events/places/people. So, one might easily say: Let's prevent there from being any more Hitlers in the future. This means Let's prevent there from being any more [people like Hitler] in the future. Similarly, with your Hiroshima example, No ...


25

Both will be correct, depending upon the context in which you want to use them. If you are referring to the CITY in particular, then it will be "No more Hiroshima". However, if you are referring the incident that occurred there, it will be "No more Hiroshimas".


22

No More Hiroshima is what almost happened in WW-2. No More Hiroshimas is what we say to indicate that we don't want that to happen again. At best, the former sounds like a clumsy attempt at the latter.


18

"I" is correct. The speaker is the subject of the sentence, the one performing the action, and so you use the subject version of the pronoun. You use "me" when the speaker is the object, the person being acted on. Like, "Bob asked me to go fishing." Normally in English when there are several people mentioned in a sentence, one of whom is the speaker, you ...


16

If you are giving a complete sentence, you should use the article. "The plane arrived in the USA." Etc. If you are giving the names of countries in a list or chart or some such where you are not using complete sentences, then you simply put "USA", like you would put "Germany" or "France".


15

There are several cases where proper nouns can take "the" with some examples here. In English, you use the article THE with proper nouns: to emphasize the uniqueness of that entity: e.g. It's THE Barbra Streisand. to specify what singular entity you were referring to: e.g. THE Elvis I got to know was a defeated king. The specific ...


14

As for using about the article before a country name, you can read Using the definite article before a country/state name, where the answer with the higher score says: There are certain countries and regions which are traditionally referred to with the definite article: anywhere where the proper name is a description (The United States, The Gold Coast, ...


12

No. If there is a definite article in the title, you say it as part of the title: Today, I would like to discuss The Bridge on the River Kwai with you. However, if there isn't, you don't need to add one. Today, I would like to discuss Kind Hearts and Coronets with you. The only time you would see an added article would be if the film title is used ...


12

No, disease names are not proper nouns, although diseases named after people keep the capitalization of the person's name (Münchausen syndrome). The scientific (Latin) names of disease-causing organisms follow the standard rule of Genus species. If you've seen "Celiac Disease", it's just because of an unfortunate tendency some People have to capitalize ...


11

The naming of countries is a matter of politics and convention rather than grammar. It is no longer appropriate to say the Ukraine, for example, as the government of that country deprecates it, and some may even be insulted by it. Ultimately, each country can declare whatever its official and short names will be in English, although it may not always stick ...


11

They're not capitalized because they're not proper nouns. A proper noun is one that is used to refer to a unique entity; "arginine" is used to refer to any sample of that particular chemical. It's no more a proper noun than "water".


11

You must say: I like the USA. which is short for: I like the United States of America. There is no rule here. The reason that "the" is required is because it's part of the name of the country. Most countries do not have a "the" in their name (in English). For example, these are all correct: I like Canada. I like the United Kingdom. I ...


10

"A" in this situation is just one way you can refer to a person that is in some particular state. In other words, you can attach an adjective to that person and use "a" to refer to him/her. This is not, therefore, something that refers explicitly to family, and in fact in almost every other situation it would be wrong to say "a Dudley." I imagine that the ...


10

Southern Europe is generally the preferred term. The south of Europe and South Europe are sometimes used. See Google Ngram Viewer: Southern Europe, South Europe, the south of Europe, the South of Europe: As far as other names are concerned, the only rule is actual usage. Usually southern is used when referring to a region and South is part of proper names, ...


10

We do not use an article before "9/11". Americans would think the use of "the" in the sentence you quote as decidedly strange-sounding. 9/11 is a date. We do not use an article before a date when it is expressed as month - day - year or simply month - day. "I was born on December 5, 1958." NOT "I was born on the December 5, 1958." Occasionally people ...


10

To summarize, there are no hard and fast rules, but there certainly are patterns that can guide us now and then. Each language naturally has its own patterns, so to my mind this is a legitimate question about English. From short name to long name There certainly is no way to guess what someone's full name is just from their short name, simply because ...


10

Your supposition is correct. The use of the definite article is a rhetorical device to indicate that what is being said is the truth because truth is necessarily unique whereas error is manifold. For Christians, Christianity is supposed to be determined by the meaning of what were the actual words of Jesus. But people differ in how they interpret those ...


9

You are right: Meadow Hall is the proper name of a house or mansion described in the book, and that is why the words are capitalized. Note also that there is no article before "Meadow Hall": we don't usually use articles with proper nouns. We do have the definite article the before "scullery window", which somewhat attests to the fact that these words are ...


9

It would not be strictly incorrect to drop the articles, however written with the articles, it is a bit like saying "a version of Hermione that is interested" and "a version of Ron who is thoroughly unconvinced". Used like this it could be interpreted as a temporary state. Without the article, it is no longer referring to their state, but more descriptive ...


8

Your daughter's textbook is not quite accurate. You capitalize such nouns when they act as names, as the ordinary form of address. "Mommy" is used that way in your second example. But in your first example, sister is not a name, as its use with a determiner makes clear: it is a common noun denoting a relationship. If the determiner is omitted, however, ...


8

The Zika virus is named for the Zika Forest in Uganda. Given that Zika is a proper noun, it is capitalized.


7

Is this regarded as valid English according to a certain style ...? Surnames in all-capitals is a common style used in genealogical databases and in genealogical discussions. For example, a Recording Names lesson at genealogy.about.com says 2. Print SURNAMES in upper case letters. This provides easy scanning on pedigree charts and family group sheets ...


7

Ok, following your comments about "outlook resources inc" being the name of the company, clears this up a little. In the USA this would more conventionally be written "Outlook Resources, Inc" - capitalizing the first letter of each word, and a comma between the name and the fact that it is "Incorporated". The fact that it was not written like this made it ...


7

Your thinking is largely valid. "He is India prime minister" is wrong. The noun is "minister", so normally any other words that modify the meaning should be adjectives, like "Indian", and not another noun, like "India". "He is India's prime minister" or "He is the prime minister of India" is correct and the most clear. You are telling us that he is a prime ...


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