"Earth" with a capitalized "e" and without a definite article

Discussion in 'English Only' started by avidsuper, Jun 7, 2015.

  1. avidsuper Senior Member

    Here is a sentence from the psychologist Paul Ekman's book Emotions Revealed:

    The western hospital with all its facilities made the experience unreal, as though she has been on Mars and then returned to Earth.

    Here Ekman is talking how a Papua New Guinean woman, who didn't show any sign of sadness at the loss of her child at the hospital, burst into tears and seemed to be overcome with grief upon arrival at her village and when seeing her fellow villagers.

    My questions are 1) Why not use the article "the" before words like Mars and Jupiter? 2) should we always use the article "the" when we talk about our planet earth (and the sun also)? 3) why is "earth" capitalized here? And once it is capitalized, the "the" must be dropped?
  2. Cenzontle

    Cenzontle Senior Member

    English, U.S.
    Planet names like Mars and Jupiter are like other, earthly place names. The woman wasn't from "the" Papua New Guinea.
    (A few exceptions: "The Gambia" in West Africa; "The Hague" in Holland; "the United States" because of its grammatical form.)
    The context of your sentence (mentioning Mars) makes "Earth" a planet (rather than, for example, the flat surface under our feet).
    So it is treated in parallel fashion: uppercase E, no article.
    If the woman's (hypothetical) trip, instead of being interplanetary, had been merely a flight through the air, she might have landed on "the earth".
  3. jianghuicecile

    jianghuicecile Senior Member

    I am not fully understand your explanation as a non-native speaker, is her example the same with mine? could you check out my latest thread and help me with my belwidement, thanks in advance.
  4. Cenzontle

    Cenzontle Senior Member

    English, U.S.
    Where is your thread, jianghui?
  5. jianghuicecile

    jianghuicecile Senior Member

    here I am wondering that in the sentence "There is only one Earth in the universe, we mankind have only one homeland.", the word "Earth" should be always in capital letter with or withouth article when it refers to the planet we live?
    Thanks in advance for anyone who helps me with the above, looking forwards to your reply, I will waiting online, many thanks again
  6. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    "Earth," when we use that word to refer to our planet, is a name. Names are always written with capital letters. Names generally* do not take articles: we would write "jianghuicecile posted," not "the jianghuicecile posted." It is the same with Mars, Jupiter and Earth.
    *Cenzontle posted a few place names that traditionally take articles. There are others, such as The Levant at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Ocean. Still, the rule is true at least 99 percent of the time, probably at least 99.9 percent.
  7. dojibear

    dojibear Senior Member

    Fresno CA
    English - Northeast US
    Proper names don't use "the" before them. "Earth" is a proper name for one planet. So is "Mars".

    "Sun" is not a proper name for the sun: its proper name is "Sol". Our sun is a star, like millions of other stars. Each of them is "a sun" to anything near it.

  8. jianghuicecile

    jianghuicecile Senior Member

    ok, I got it, thanks:)
  9. jianghuicecile

    jianghuicecile Senior Member

    Accordingly, we should conclude if it is a proper name deponding upon context, so complicated for me

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