Article usage with names of personified objects and animals: (the) Violin/Watermelon said to Pot

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Englishmypassion

Senior Member
India - Hindi
Hello Everyone,

Do we use the definite article with capitalized names of personified objects? I think it depends on whether we suppose the personified object's name (assumed as a proper noun) to be the Object or just Object, somewhat like Mr Smith or just Smith. Here are some examples:


1. Once Violin/the Violin went to Watermelon/the Watermelon and said...

2. Once Pot/the Pot said to Pup/the Pup...


If both are fine, which is more common?


Thanks.


EMP
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    These examples sound a little odd, but if the violin's name is Violin and the watermelon's name was Watermelon, then they need to be capitalised.

    When you are describing them as characters, as I've just done above, then they don't need capitalising but they do need the article.

    When you are talking about them by name then they need to be capitalised, and don't need an article.

    The watermelon said to the violin "Hello, how are you?" :tick:

    Watermelon said to Violin "Hello, how are you?" :tick:
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree with heypresto. Lower case with definite article, or initial capital as a proper noun/name.

    In the less likely event that the characters had titles such as Mr and Mrs, these would be written as Vic has them (but with a period added if written in AE!).
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    When you are talking about them by name then they need to be capitalised, and don't need an article.

    The watermelon said to the violin "Hello, how are you?" :tick:

    Watermelon said to Violin "Hello, how are you?" :tick:
    Thanks a lot.

    That's what I, too, would have thought as that follows the rules governing the use of the article with proper nouns and common nouns, but I've seen names (common nouns) of objects personified used with the definite article too. For example, The Cracked Pot said, Heart 2 Heart - 101 Topics illustrated with Stories, Anecdotes, and Incidents for Preachers, Teachers, Value Instructors, Parents and Children.
    Or here: "Not every day they see the Tree" said...Tobi and the Tree of Time

    Maybe it was an old practice.:confused: (Please don't bring up the old practice of capitalizing names of important but unpersonified objects, as we are here dealing with personified objects only.)

    (Let's focus on article usage in the specific context given in the OP and not get distracted by Mr/Mr. etc.)

    Thanks, Lingobingo and VicNic too.

    Edited to include links
     
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    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    the rules governing the use of the article with proper nouns and common nouns
    You're trying to apply the formal "rules" of grammar to something that seems like it was written for small children. It really doesn't matter. The "rules" don't apply here. All of the possibilities are acceptable.
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    You're trying to apply the formal "rules" of grammar to something that seems like it was written for small children. It really doesn't matter. The "rules" don't apply here. All of the possibilities are acceptable.

    Thanks a lot. Yes, I am talking about stories in children's books, and I agree capitalization/personification and article usage is more flexible in them.


    Thanks, VicNic-- I thought you wouldn't think I'd use the definite article and Mr/Mrs together but it's okay.
     
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