19th century England

Discussion in 'English Only' started by VicNicSor, Jul 15, 2017.

  1. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    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.
     
  2. 19th century is an adjectival compound phrase modifying "England", so that's correct.
     
  3. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    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?...
     
  4. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    It's quite normal (whatever the techincalities may be :))
    In jolly old England...
    In rural England...
    In modern England...
    In 19th century England...
     
  5. 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.)
     
  6. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Yes, in Russian, e.g., in such cases we use the longer one:D (although Julian's first three examples in #4 are ok in Russian).

    Thank you both!
     
  7. For longer we could have:

    In the England of the Victorian Age.:D
     
  8. 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).
     
  9. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Thank you!
     
  10. SevenDays Senior Member

    Spanish
    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."
     
  11. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    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.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
  12. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    Did he really prefer that century, or was it just the one he happened to live in?
     
  13. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    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.
     
  14. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    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...
     
  15. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    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.)
     
  16. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    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:)
     
  17. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    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.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
  18. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    I see, thanks!
     
  19. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    What about a Second Empire escritoire?
    Here is an article which refers to Directory Paris.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
  20. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    Nainital
    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.
     
  21. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    Editing error. The author first wrote in 'the 19th century', then decided to change it to 'in 19th century England'. but forgot to remove the article.
     
  22. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    Nainital
    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.
     
  23. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    He does, but he was not a native speaker. Perhaps his prestige was such that his editor would not correct it.
     
  24. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    Nainital
    India - Hindi
    Thanks a lot again, Wandle.
     
  25. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    Singapore
    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).
     
  26. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    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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