BBC / the BBC [definite article with initialism]

mochacoffee

Member
Korean
Hi all,

I was reading a BBC article and I found this

<< -- excessive quotation deleted -- >>
With China's media so strictly controlled, the study has raised questions about why microblogs allow people to post before censorship at all. One of the researchers, Professor Dan Wallach, told the BBC that Sina Weibo had to satisfy government censorship requirements without seeming heavy-handed to its bloggers. He said it had to walk a fine line.

- From BBCleraningenglish.com website.


If you look at last paragraph, you might see "One of the researchers, Professor Dan Wallach, told the BBC that" this phrase. I am wondering why they used told "the"BBC, not told BBC... I thought BBC is a proper noun, so you don't need to use "The" but I am not sure.

Please help me... Thank you in advance,


<<< ----------- See Rule#4 ----------- >>>
 
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  • Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    BBC is not a name like 'Charles'. Hidden within the abbreviation is the expansion "British Broadcasting Corporation". You would say "I approached the Corporation about this problem", not "I approached Corporation".
     

    mochacoffee

    Member
    Korean
    Hi Elwintee, thanks for your help.

    Could I say then "I bought the Samsung TV I saw before"? Or is it also possible to say "I bought Samsung TV" - without preposition.
     

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hullo, moch.

    You should say "I bought the Samsung TV I saw..."

    But that's a different case: in the Samsung sentence above the "the" goes with "TV", not with Samsung.
    "The Beatles" were/are THE Beatles, and so were/are THE Rolling Stones: "the" was/is part of the proper name of the band.
    Not so with "Police", "Earth, Wind and Fire", etc.: "The Beatles said...", but "Police declared...".

    GS
     
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    mojolicious

    Member
    English English
    Subsidiary question for Americans:

    'Professor Dan Wallach told the BBC that...' is correct, but you would never write 'told the [ABC/NBC] that'.

    Why should that be?
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    Subsidiary question for Americans:

    'Professor Dan Wallach told the BBC that...' is correct, but you would never write 'told the [ABC/NBC] that'.

    Why should that be?
    No, we never would. We would would, however, invariably say "the BBC," "the U.N." and "the USDA." Whether the "the" is retained when an organization becomes known by its initials is a quirky thing.
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    Just had another thought: Regarding CBS, NBC and ABC, those companies never, as far as I know, spell out their names any more, at least not when talking to the general public. To the public, they are known exclusively by their initials. That might be a factor in why we Americans invariably say "the BBC" but never "the NBC." The BBC is sometimes still referred to as "the British Broadcasting Corp." but I can't remember the last time I heard NBC called "the National Broadcasting Company." They don't even use it on their website.
     
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    icecreamsoldier

    Senior Member
    New Zealand English
    I agree with JustKate that the long form of companies or organisations whose initials are used with "the" are more widely known than others. Most people know what BBC stands for, but fewer would know what ABC, NBC or IBM stand for.

    People often refer to companies or organisations by their initials so frequently that they forget what those initials stand for, resulting in common redundancies such as "ASB Bank" (Auckland Savings Bank Bank), or "AUT University" (Auckland University of Technology University). Perhaps using "the" (the ASB/the AUT) would avoid this!

    It is also important to note than when used as a modifier, the "the" may be dropped:
    The U.N. --> U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
    The U.S. --> U.S. President Barack Obama
     

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Funny that we shouldn't say "the NBS/the CBS/ the ABC" while we do say "the BBC". After all the definite article is absent in all of the four "proper nouns/names" of those national television networks.

    GS :)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    However, if ABC is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, you should say the ABC! :D
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    Funny that we shouldn't say "the NBS/the CBS/ the ABC" while we do say "the BBC". After all the definite article is absent in all of the four "proper nouns/names" of those national television networks.

    GS :)
    I don't understand what you mean here, Giorgio. There was a time - before I was born, and probably before you were born, too - when NBC was known as "the National Broadcasting Company." And yes, the definite article was routinely used with the name. Here, for example, is a digital reproduction of a document announcing the formation of "the National Broadcasting Company, Inc." But it's simply not known as "the National Broadcasting Company," with or without the article, any more. I assume the name is used in legal documents and so on, but in every normal context, it's "NBC." As I mentioned earlier, they don't even use "the National Broadcasting Company" or "National Broadcasting Company" on their website any more, except perhaps in some "Our History" page that I was unable to find this morning. That is, I think, one reason why the is never used with NBC any more.

    But the other reason is that whether the article is or isn't retained when an organization becomes known by its initials is quirky and unpredictable. Some retain it, some don't. If there is a pattern to it other than the one I identified in the paragraph above, I am unaware of it.
     
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    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hullo, Just.

    "... whether the article is or isn't retained when an organization becomes known by its initials is quirky and unpredictable..."

    Thank you very much.

    GS
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    What if I want to use "BBC" to refer to the TV channel? Should I still say "the BBC"? For example:

    The show will be broadcast on (the) BBC tonight at seven.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I think if BBC was the name of a television channel, I wouldn't use the article.

    I'm trying to imagine the situation. In the UK, there are several BBC channels: BBC1, BBC2, BBC3 etc. and we'd say things like 'Doctor Who is on BBC One' (no article).

    Over here, the BBC channels are called BBC Entertainment, BBC Lifestyle, BBC Knowledge etc. Again no article.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Back in the day, when there was only one BBC channel, I think one said: It's on BBC tonight at eight o'clock. No article.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Well you've always heard it wrong, spoken by those who are ignorant or careless of finesse.
    It's a very tricky area, a minefield for learners, especially those who have no articles in their own language.
    It's not always all that easy for native speakers either! I often need to look up the titles of publications. Usually I've got it right by instinct, but I need to be 100% sure.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Well you've always heard it wrong, spoken by those who are ignorant or careless of finesse.
    :confused::confused::confused:

    Just because it differs from your usage it means that those speakers are ignorant or careless of finesse? :eek: How can you be comfortable making such a brazen claim about native speakers, especially when it's not even about your own variety of English? I understand that variants we are not used to can be jarring, but to use that as a reason to dismiss all those who use them as ignorant is shockingly unacceptable.
     
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