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From: David B. Held (dheld_at_[hidden])
Date: 2003-09-21 21:32:46

"David Abrahams" <dave_at_[hidden]> wrote in message
> [...]
> And, don't forget, since we're are, after all, engineers:


> "Who owns Star Wars, Episode I?"
> Not very far from Boost Software License, Version 1.0
> [...]

Ok, this is a good example. It has solidified in my mind
what the rule might be. When the name contains the
common word for what the name refers to, the definite
article is used. In my previous example, "Oracle" and
"Linux" do not require the definite article because "Oracle"
is the name of a company or the name of a database,
and a database is not an oracle and a company is not an
oracle. Obviously, proper names that are not common
words, like "Linux", would not, in general, be used with
the definite article.

So even though "Wars" and "Episode" and "I" are all
common words, they are not words for "movie", which
is what it is. Whereas, "Boost Software License" *is* a
license, GPL is-a license, and the US Constitution is-a
constitution. The PC is-a computer, but "Macintosh"
is-not-a computer (no pun intended ;).

Consider "The Tonight Show". Since it is the name of a
show, the title itself contains the definite article. Whereas,
"Jeopardy" doesn't contain the definite article, nor do we
typically use it with that name:

    "Did you watch the Jeopardy last night?"

Although, with all this confusion over the most commonly
used word in the English language, perhaps foreigners can
be more easily forgiven for not always using it properly. ;>


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