best on (the) earth

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  • Franzi

    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    I disagree. In most contexts, "the best/biggest/most whatever ___ on the earth" would sound highly unnatural to me.

    However, you do use 'the' when you are speaking about the earth as a planet (a physical object) rather than as a conceptual unit (a collection of human societies). You'll probably see 'the' used in texts on geology or mountain ranges or something like that.

    "Where on the earth is there equal day and night on the Autumnal Equinox?" (This is talking about a physical location on the planet.)
     

    watercanyon

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    I believe that saying, "this is the best spectacle on the earth" would be giving emphasis to 'the earth' in the same way that saying, "this is the best spectacle in the universe" would. Another way would be to say, "this is the best spectacle on the ENTIRE earth".
     
    The problem with "best spectacle on the Earth" is that it implies that there are similar spectacles on Mars, Venus, etc. because the phrase "best xyz on Earth" is so well-established. Adding the definite article draws attention to the Earth-ness, so to speak, of your statement; and, to me, it emphasizes the one-planet-among-many aspect of Earth as opposed to the more generic idea of "the place where all humans live."
     
    Last edited:

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I disagree. In most contexts, "the best/biggest/most whatever ___ on the earth" would sound highly unnatural to me.

    However, you do use 'the' when you are speaking about the earth as a planet (a physical object) rather than as a conceptual unit (a collection of human societies). You'll probably see 'the' used in texts on geology or mountain ranges or something like that.

    "Where on the earth is there equal day and night on the Autumnal Equinox?" (This is talking about a physical location on the planet.)
    How about capitalizing earth in this context?
     
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