Explaining something about the use of 'the' to a Czech speak

Discussion in 'General Language' started by JPS, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. JPS

    JPS Member

    I realise this is kind of the reverse of what this forum is (ie, helping us learn Czech), but I hope someone can help.

    A Czech friend is translating something into English. They asked me if they should write:

    "...rooms of THE Cernin Palace''


    ''...rooms of Cernin Palace''.

    I know if I were talking I would use 'the'. However, when I got to thinking about it, I realise I wouldn't say, for example, ''rooms of THE Buckingham Palace''

    Anyone smarter than me (most of you!) able to give an explanation?
  2. wissy

    wissy Well-Known Member


    I'm no linguist but i too am an English speaker. Just my thoughts....

    Surely we would say " in the rooms of Buckingham Palace" not "in rooms of the Buckingham Palace"? So i think the translation would be rooms of Cernin Palace.

    Perhaps you could let us know what the words were before ...rooms.
  3. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Since the phrase "Černín Palace" is a proper noun, i.e. the name of the palace, I wouldn't the article "the." If it had been a palace in a place called Černín (or owned by someone named Černín), but typically was called by another name, I would have used "the."

    "...rooms of Černín Palace''

    but ...

    "...rooms of the Černín palace''

    I don't think this is a general rule, though, as I can thing some exceptions. Sometimes it seems as though the article "the" is used with proper nouns when clarity or specificity is required, e.g. "The White House," since there are many white houses, but only one White House. Sometimes, however, it's not clear to me why we English speakers us "the," e.g. "The Eiffel Tower" (obviously, there's only one of note by that name, and yet I almost always see this name prefaced by "the").

    Of course, after saying all this, when I google "Cernin Palace," most of the articles that come up use "the," at least when referring to it in a sentence.
  4. JPS

    JPS Member

    Cheers for tips guys.

    I checked o few of my Czech magazines and books and, right or wrong, in English they seem to use 'the'.

    Might be a case of what sounds best as much as what is correct?
  5. scrimshaw

    scrimshaw Well-Known Member

    THE and A

    "I went to a museum".....The listener now knows that he/she went to A museum but does not know which one.

    "I went to the mueum"....The listener now knows he/she went to the museum(the only museum in the city/the mueum they use to go to as a child/the museum they both are familiar with).

    But to make matters more confusing...
    I went to the museum.....This statement can also be used to emphasse just the act of visiting a museum.
    So he is referring to no specific museum, but more the fact that he ACTUALLY went to a museum.

    Fuzzy distinctiions.

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