19th century England

VicNicSor

Senior Member
Russian
So, Marx was writing in 19th century England and there were two classes that mattered: the workers and the capitalists.
Capitalism and Socialism: Crash Course World History #33, YouTube video

Shouldn't there be an article before the boldfaced phrase? I mean, it's a specific version of England -- the one of the 19th century:confused:...

Thank you.
 
  • VicNicSor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    19th century is an adjectival compound phrase modifying "England", so that's correct.
    Yes, it's an adjectival, but when adjectives are used with, say, people's names, articles are usually used -- a or the depending on context.

    I understand it's different with, e.g., such established expressions like Victorian England, but "19th century" is a specific case... no?...
     
    You are writing in 21st century Russia, and I'm writing in 21st century U.S.

    It seems this shorter construction is new to you.

    A different (and longer and possibly more cumbersome construction for the writer would be:

    In the England of the 19th century. (in the Russia of the 21st century, etc.)
     

    Minnesota Guy

    Senior Member
    American English - USA
    "England" without a modifier wouldn't normally take an article. That usually doesn't change when there's a modifier preceding it (see #4.) But a modifier following it makes the article necessary:

    in Churchill's England
    BUT
    in the England of Churchill

    (even though the meaning is the same).
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    So, Marx was writing in 19th century England and there were two classes that mattered: the workers and the capitalists.
    Capitalism and Socialism: Crash Course World History #33, YouTube video

    Shouldn't there be an article before the boldfaced phrase? I mean, it's a specific version of England -- the one of the 19th century:confused:...

    Thank you.
    It may be a specific version of England, but the noun phrase 19th century England already has a determiner (the ordinal number "19th"). A basic rule is that you can't have a noun phrase with two determiners, so syntax rejects "Marx was writing in the 19th century England and there were ..." You can, however, have a pre-determiner, so you can add "the," provided that you specify the noun phrase in some fashion: Marx was writing in the 19th century that he loved and there were two classes that mattered."
     

    VicNicSor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    It may be a specific version of England, but the noun phrase 19th century England already has a determiner (the ordinal number "19th"). A basic rule is that you can't have a noun phrase with two determiners, so syntax rejects "Marx was writing in the 19th century England and there were ..." You can, however, have a pre-determiner, so you can add "the," provided that you specify the noun phrase in some fashion: Marx was writing in the 19th century that he loved and there were two classes that mattered."
    I disagree, "19th" is not a determiner, and usually you need an article before "19th century", even without any relative clauses like "that he loved and there were two classes that mattered". The reason why it is not used here is that "century" is used as an adjective, not as a noun, and 'England' is a proper name which doesn't need an article either.
     
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    VicNicSor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    No, because 19th century is a noun modifier, and the combination "noun modifier + noun" is treated for all purposes except spelling as a noun in its own right.
    Yes, but not only because of that, right? What matters is what kind of noun is that -- countable/uncountable, specific/non-specific, plural/singular, proper/common...
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    A horse rider is treated for the purpose of articles in the same way as a rider.
    19th century England
    is treated for the purpose of articles in the same way as England.
    (
    At least, I can't think of any exceptions.)
     

    VicNicSor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    A horse rider is treated for the purpose of articles in the same way as a rider.
    19th century England
    is treated for the purpose of articles in the same way as England.
    (
    At least, I can't think of any exceptions.)
    Ah I see, I just thought that "England", as a proper name, could need an article when used with adjectives, just like people's names do:)
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The grammar of a noun modifier is quite different from the grammar of an adjective. Nevertheless, some noun modifiers can take on some of the attributes of an adjective.
    This is a key question:tick:
    This question is key.:thumbsup: Most people think this is OK
    This is a horse rider.:tick:
    This rider is horse.:cross:
    This is a 17th century church. :tick:
    This church is 17th century.:tick:


    (Incidentally, I can't immediately think of any examples of the combination "noun modifier + proper noun", except where the noun modifier is xth century.)
     
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    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    John Cunnungham Wood writes the following in David Ricardo: Critical Assessments:

    While Ricardian Economics was concerned with the impact of corn laws, poor laws and public debt in the 19th century England, the major problem of underdeveloped countries in the 20th century is to achieve growth with social justice,...

    Thoughts?
    Thanks.
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Thanks a lot, Wandle.

    The following, quoted from Notes on Life and Letters by Joseph Conrad, also includes the article by mistake? (The writer seems to be emphasizing the particular version of England there.)

    I may say without vanity that I am intelligent enough to have been astonished by that piece of information: for facts must stand in some relation to time and space, and I was aware of being in England—in the twentieth-century England.

    Thanks.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I think VicNicSor might be thinking of constructions with proper nouns like: a young Shakespeare or 'He had come home to a welcoming England'. In those constructions involving proper nouns, we are thinking of several versions of Shakespeare or England (which are countable), and hence we use an indefinite article.

    On the other hand, if we talk about pre-Reformation England or 14th-century England, the modifier really functions as a time adverbial (England before the Reformation, England in the 14th century).
     

    VicNicSor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I think VicNicSor might be thinking of constructions with proper nouns like: a young Shakespeare or 'He had come home to a welcoming England'. In those constructions involving proper nouns, we are thinking of several versions of Shakespeare or England (which are countable), and hence we use an indefinite article.

    On the other hand, if we talk about pre-Reformation England or 14th-century England, the modifier really functions as a time adverbial (England before the Reformation, England in the 14th century).
    Thank you! Also, we could use the definite article with "Shakespeare", making it "countable" too. E.g.: "The young Shakespeare wrote more plays than after he reached an age of ..." (self-made)
     
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