from US Navy destroyers

Flogger20

Senior Member
Persian, Iran
Hello,

The following sentence has been extracted from Express.co.uk.

59 tomahawk missiles were fired from US Navy destroyers
I'd like to know if I can rephrase it like below?

1) 59 tomahawk missiles were fired from the US Navy destroyers.

2) 59 tomahawk missiles were fired from the US Navy's destroyers
I think my second version is atypical (not sure if it is grammatical), but my question is why article "the" and apostrophe "s" has not been used in the original sentence? Is it grammatical to use them?

Thank you in advance,
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    You probably know some rules about using "the". You are allowed to say "the destroyers" to refer to a specific group of destroyers that was mentioned before in the same text.

    I checked the article (thanks for the link). This sentence is by itself: it is the caption for a photo. So there is no previous text with a group of destroyers, for "the" to refer to. "The" is incorrect here.
     

    Korisnik116

    Senior Member
    Croatian
    59 tomahawk missiles were fired from US Navy destroyers
    US Navy acts as a noun adjunct here.
    59 tomahawk missiles were fired from the US Navy destroyers
    The the in that sentence determines destroyers, not US.
    59 tomahawk missiles were fired from the US Navy's destroyers
    This is okay, and I think it means that those destroyers are owned by the US Navy. (But you can never be too sure with genitives in English, it might as well serve an attributive function.)
     

    Flogger20

    Senior Member
    Persian, Iran
    You probably know some rules about using "the". You are allowed to say "the destroyers" to refer to a specific group of destroyers that was mentioned before in the same text.

    I checked the article (thanks for the link). This sentence is by itself: it is the caption for a photo. So there is no previous text with a group of destroyers, for "the" to refer to. "The" is incorrect here.
    America has got many destroyers but we are sure that the missiles were fired from a few number of its destroyers.

    It's look like this. "He fell into water" versus "He fell into the water".
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    America has got many destroyers but we are sure that the missiles were fired from a few number of its destroyers.
    We don't know which destroyers they were fired from. "Knowing it's a small number" isn't a rule for using "the".

    It's look like this. "He fell into water" versus "He fell into the water".
    You wouldn't use "the water" unless a previous sentence had explained his location: a lake, an ocean, a swimming pool, the bathtub, etc.
     

    Korisnik116

    Senior Member
    Croatian
    :thumbsdown::thumbsdown:
    No it's not OK.
    It's completely unnatural here.
    When I google "the US Navy's destroyer(s)" verbatim, I get an appreciable number of American websites (and I don't mean the fictive number of results Google reports) that seem to be trustworthy (that number is still lower than for "US Navy destroyers", but it's not negligible). I think these destroyers are essentially ships, so we could extend it to the "the US Navy's ship(s)" search string, which shows an ample number of results as well.
    For example: http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=3147 "Achievements like this fill the U.S. Navy's destroyer history books..."; http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/01/alabama_senator_byrne_supports.html "BAE systems, which maintains many of the U.S. Navy's ships..."
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Different context. Sorry.

    (Having spent a substantial amount of time on U.S. Navy ships as a Marine)
     
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