Definite or zero article before names of ships, yachts, etc.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Kaytsan, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. Kaytsan

    Kaytsan New Member

    Russian
    Hello!

    I wonder if I should put "the" when writing a name of a ship or a yacht. What is the rule in this case?
    "Titanic" or "The Titanic"
    "Zephyr" or "The Zephyr"

    Thanks much in advance!
     
  2. dermott

    dermott Senior Member

    Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy
    B.E. via Australian English
    The official name is RMS Titanic. If Zephyr is the British naval vessel, HMS Zephyr. If you're referring to them, it's common to write the Titanic or the Zephyr.
     
  3. Kaytsan

    Kaytsan New Member

    Russian
    Thank you!
     
  4. ain'ttranslationfun? Senior Member

    US English
    Or: the "Titanic"/the Titanic.
     
  5. Kaytsan

    Kaytsan New Member

    Russian
    Right, I just wasn't sure if the article was needed.
     
  6. dermott

    dermott Senior Member

    Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy
    B.E. via Australian English
    You will also sometimes see written, for example, "When "Titanic"/Titanic sank in 1912".
     
  7. Kaytsan

    Kaytsan New Member

    Russian
    Then why is there no article if it should be? When can it be omitted?
     
  8. dermott

    dermott Senior Member

    Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy
    B.E. via Australian English
    There is no hard and fast rule. I said it's common to use the article when writing about them.
     
  9. Kaytsan

    Kaytsan New Member

    Russian
    Ok, thank you again!
     
  10. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    Hi Kaytsan, there's a useful section on "Articles with Miscellaneous Proper Names" here (source: usefulenglish.ru), and some insightful comments on this forum (source: encyclopedia-titanica.org). If the ship's name includes the word "The", the rule generally established practice is that it shouldn't be omitted, though sometimes for reasons of style, a writer will omit it, especially because it cannot possibly lead to any confusion, as here (source: dailymail.co.uk).

    In addition, "The Titanic" is probably something of an exception as everyone has heard of it, and the film was called "Titanic", not "The Titanic". Alas, the power of the big screen and the global entertainment industry is greater than that of the generally established practice.
     
  11. Kaytsan

    Kaytsan New Member

    Russian
    Thank you for your elaborate reply!
    I knew about this usefulenglish.ru section before, but, unfortunately, didn't find anything about vessels or boats...
    Anyway, your explanation is rather convincing:)
     
  12. Barque Senior Member

    India
    Tamil
    I agree. It's so well known that people refer to it as if it were a person.
    John died a few years ago.
    Titanic sank in 1912.
     
  13. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    It has long been normal to call boats by their name, without an article. For example, Erskine Childer's 1903 novel The Riddle of the Sands refers to the protagonist's yacht as "Dulcibella", not "the Dulcibella". Similarly, the 1951 novel The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat recounts the travails of the crew of HMS Compass Rose and she is referred to as "Compass Rose". Getting right up to date, this Royal Navy web page calls HMS Dragon "Dragon" - HMS Dragon roars again | Royal Navy.

    Articles are used, too. As Enquiring Mind mentioned, it is common to see "the Titanic". There is also a well-known 1960 film "Sink the Bismarck!"
     
  14. RM1(SS)

    RM1(SS) Senior Member

    Connecticut
    English - US (Midwest)
    Should you feel a need to write a Wikipedia article, their guidelines say:
     

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