the English nobleman Earl, John Montague

VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
The sandwich is 250 years old this weekend and residents in the English town of Sandwich, where the bread meal was first eaten, are celebrating their culinary history. According to the town’s records the English nobleman Earl, John Montague first ordered a sandwich in 1762.
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Is "Earl" a name or a title,
and if nobleman Earl is a title, why is the definite article used?
Thank you
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It's just plain wrong. He was an English nobleman. His personal and family name were John Montagu. His title was the Earl of Sandwich. If you need to give his name and title in the same sentence, you could say he was the English nobleman John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich.

    He wasn't anything else - he wasn't Earl John Montagu or Earl Sandwich or John Earl of Sandwich or any other combination. He was the Earl of Sandwich, no more and no less, and that's what he should be called.
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Hi, VikNik. As entangledbank said, the words in your quotation are not combined in the normal ("correct") way.
    Wikipedia and (no doubt) other online sources will give you examples of the conventional arrangements of name and title for English nobles.
    The Wiki article begins "John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, PC, FRS (13 November 1718 – 30 April 1792)[1] was a British statesman who..."
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Not only is his name wrongly written, most of the article is nonsense. His home was Hinchingbrooke House in Huntingdonshire, nowhere near Sandwich in Kent. If he ate the bread and beef at cards it was in his club in London. If it was (as his biographer suggests) his lunch in his office, it was in the Admiralty.

    Like many British noblemen, his title bears no relation to the location of his estates. Indeed, the one thing you can be confident of is that if a man was called John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, he almost certainly didn't live in Sandwich. The first Earl was Admiral Sir Edward Montagu and he was simultaneously created Earl of Sandwich, Baron Montagu, of St Neots in the County of Huntingdon, and Viscount Hinchingbrooke (ie, where he lived). The only reason for involving Sandwich was because it was one of the Cinque Ports.

    PS Oh, and yes, they also spelt his surame wrongly. Montagu, not Montague.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I could live with:

    According to the town’s records the English nobleman, John Montagu(e), first ordered a sandwich in 1762.

    or

    According to the town’s records the English earl, John Montagu(e), first ordered a sandwich in 1762.

    but not both.
     
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    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    The evidently unedited website is that of an independent blogger who seems not to be very well informed. It's not a very good source of information about England or English.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Thank you for the answers!
    But the thing I still don't understand is:
    if we say: the English nobleman John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich...
    "John Montagu" is a proper name, which doesn't usually take articles. "English nobleman" is just a modifier. Why was "the" put here? Because he was not "any English nobleman", but "English nobleman John Montagu"? Or because there are many people named John Montagu and we single out the one that was the Earl of Sandwich?
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    1. We can remove "the" but we would have to change the punctuation:

    According to the town’s records, English nobleman John Montagu first ordered a sandwich in 1762.

    According to the town’s records the English nobleman, John Montagu, first ordered a sandwich in 1762.


    2. If there are many John Montagus then we can say the following:

    John Montagu the Baker met John Montagu the Butcher but neither of them met John Montagu the nobleman.

    I don't know if that helps.
     
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    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Here we mention him for the first time. Why is it not "an"...?

    According to the town’s records an English farmer, John Montagu, first ordered a sandwich in 1762.

    According to the town’s records the English nobleman, John Montagu, first ordered a sandwich in 1762.

    It is supposed that the noble John Montagu is unique or well-known or important to the town. John Montagu the farmer isn't. If John Montagu the farmer was well-known and taught about in schools then he would be important enough to deserve "the".
     
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