I go skiing to/in Alps/France

Discussion in 'English Only' started by mahau, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. mahau Senior Member

    Hello everybody,

    Can someone explain this puzzle? Which preposition should I use with for e. "Alps/France":

    "I go skiing to/in Alps/France"

    I think so: I go skiing "to Alps" but "in France", is it so right? Or maybe both in?

    Thanks a lot!
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  2. Fabulist Banned

    Annandale, Virginia, USA
    American English
    You "go skiing" in a country or region—the Alps, France, etc.

    I go skiing in the Alps.:tick:
    I go skiing in France.:tick:

    However, you go to a country or region to ski.

    I go to the Alps to ski.:tick:
    I got to France to ski.:tick:

    You "go skiing" at a city or resort, but still go to a city or resort to ski.

    I go skiing at St. Moritz.:tick:
    I go to St. Moritz to ski.:tick:

    I'm sorry our prepositions are so complicated.
  3. mahau Senior Member

    Thank you. Yes it is true, It is quiet complicated.
  4. Resa Reader

    Resa Reader Senior Member

    The Alps have an article. ----- So, you go skiiing in the Alps.

    Most countries don't take an article. So, you go skiing in France, in Italy, in Germany.

    but: .......... in the United States.

    (I hope you trust a non-native speaker. Should I have made a blunder (or 'dropped the ball' - as I learned yesterday) the experts should feel free to contradict me.)

    [Edit: I only replied because nobody had replied yet.]
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  5. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    I am a native speaker and you certainly did not drop the ball. (So what have you learned since yesterday? :D)

    I would say, however, "the Alps has an article". Although there are many peaks in the Alps, the mountain range is singular.
  6. Resa Reader

    Resa Reader Senior Member

    It's the expression 'to drop the ball' that I heard for the first time yesterday. (So I simply had to use it here. One has to show off a bit from time to time, I guess. :D)

    Oh, I didn't know that. So you would also say "The Alps is beautiful." ?
    (For me that sounds really strange as in German 'die Alpen' would always be followed by a verb in the plural.)
    One lives and learns!
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  7. Fabulist Banned

    Annandale, Virginia, USA
    American English
    I'll bet Lithuanian prepositions would be complicated for an English speaker!:)
  8. Resa Reader

    Resa Reader Senior Member

    Well, I had to look that up again.
    Normally, 'the Alps' are followed by a verb in the plural after all:

    - The Alps are popular in summer and in winter. (etc.)

    I think I understand why you used the singular in your sentence ("The Alps' has an article.) I think here it is more like: The term 'the Alps' has an article. Am I right?
  9. MikeLynn

    MikeLynn Senior Member

    So you view the Alps, the Rockies as singular because it is a "singular" mountain range? Well, that's news to me and a good thing to know.
  10. ribran

    ribran Senior Member

    Austin, Texas
    English - American
    The Alps is usually plural (but I just used a singular verb :D).

    In both of our examples, "The Alps" means, "The term 'The Alps.'"
  11. MikeLynn

    MikeLynn Senior Member

    Oh, that's the way it is. Thanks a lot for the explanation, ribran :)
  12. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    I guess if you are referring to the mountain range it is singular; if you are referring to the mountains within that range it would be plural.

    It would not surprise me if the plural version is more widely used as "Alps" sounds plural.
  13. mahau Senior Member

    We don't have any. So wouldn't and you will lose your bet :)
  14. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    With no prepositions I'm surprised that they don't do a larger tourist trade. :)

    In the USA we have "The United Sates of America" (singular, proper noun), but a description of those states given this way is plural: These united states of America (this is used for dramatic emphasis, and only "America" is a proper noun).

    Because these are adjectives and not a proper name, "these", "united" and "states" need not be capitalized.

    This parallels The Alps, and the Alps (singular, plural). As a mountain range I would capitalize "The" as a description I would not.
  15. MikeLynn

    MikeLynn Senior Member

    This is a very interesting aspect Packard. When I saw Resa Reader's post, I sort of thought it might be something similar to the singular used for The United States of America, but I would never have dreamed that there are some many tricky "details" involved with such a drastic impact on the grammar. Thanks a lot for your input. This forum is a great place to learn. :) MikeLynn

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