The forbidding towers of Riverside Plaza

LQZ

Senior Member
Mandarin
Mr. Sheriff said he fled Somalia for Kenya after seeing two sisters raped and murdered. He ended up in Minneapolis in 1996 with a sister and her husband, at the age of 17. They moved into the forbidding towers of Riverside Plaza, and he was kicked out of high school within a month after getting into fights. New York Times (subscription, free)


Dear all,

Since towers haven't been mentioned before, should the highlighted "the" be removed? Thanks.


LQZ
 
  • Since towers haven't been mentioned before, should the highlighted "the" be removed? Thanks.
    No. "The" is required here. If only the name of the apartment complex was given, "the" would be omitted:

    They moved into Riverside Plaza.

    Because the author chose to add the description "forbidding towers" before the name, the definite article is necessary. Whether it has been mentioned before or not is irrelevant.
     

    LQZ

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    No. "The" is required here. If only the name of the apartment complex was given, "the" would be omitted:

    They moved into Riverside Plaza.

    Because the author chose to add the description "forbidding towers" before the name, the definite article is necessary. Whether it has been mentioned before or not is irrelevant.
    Hi, a liitle edgy, thank you.

    Could you please give me some examples to remove my confusion?
     

    Tazzler

    Senior Member
    American English
    I suspect it's because we're dealing with an "of" phrase. I can think of several examples:

    "in the large skyscrapers of the city-> in the city's large skyscrapers"
    "for the well-being of the people->for the people's well-being"
    "wandered along the crowded streets of Tokyo-> wandered along Tokyo's crowded streets"

    So you can see if the noun is modified by a following "of phrase", then you generally need an article. If there is a possessor marked by the marker "s", then you don't need one.
     
    Last edited:

    LQZ

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    I suspect it's because we're dealing with an "of" phrase. I can think of several examples:

    "in the large skyscrapers of the city-> in the city's large skyscrapers"
    "for the well-being of the people->for the people's well-being"
    "wandered along the crowded streets of Tokyo-> wandered along Tokyo's crowded streets"

    So you can see if the noun is modified by a following "of phrase", then you generally need an article. If there is the possessor is marked by the marker "s", then you don't need one.
    Thank you, Tazzler, for your enlightening reply. But I have trouble understanding the part in red. Could you please explain to me? Thanks again. :)
     

    Tazzler

    Senior Member
    American English
    I mean you say "the house of my friend" but you don't say "my friend's the house". So we have "article+noun+of+(article)+noun". I made a typo; I'll fix that.
     

    LQZ

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Hi, all,

    I am back with a new question. After reading reponses in post 2# and 4#, I found out the grammar rule of how to use the definite article (the) in this kind of case.

    We use the definite article with certain kinds of proper nouns:
    Geographical places: the Sound, the Sea of Japan, the Mississippi, the West, the Smokies, the Sahara (but often not when the main part of the proper noun seems to be modified by an earlier attributive noun or adjective: We went swimming at Ocean Park)
    ...
    Nouns followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with "of": the leader of the gang, the president of our club.
    My question is, why in the following is "an indicator of the holiday season"" used, not "the indicator of the holiday season"?

    “It’s important to keep the economy in mind here. Sometimes Black Friday is not an indicator of the holiday season, because people are so focused on deals that they’ll get themselves up early,” she said, while in better economic times, they will shop even on days without huge promotions. New York Times (subscription, free)
    Could you please explain to me? Thanks.


    LQZ
     

    MilkyBarKid

    Senior Member
    British English
    The author has mentioned that the city is Minneapolis. There is only ONE apartment building in the city called Riverside Plaza, so that the "forbidding towers" are specific to the one and only Riverside Plaza in the city. Hence, the reference is specific, to 'the forbidding towers that comprise this complex'
     
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