The grand dome of the White House

NewAmerica

Senior Member
Mandarin
The White House (See the picture) has a dome and I describe it as a grand dome.

I wonder whether such describing is proper English.

Does "The grand dome of the White House" sound natural to you?

Google search shows no hits for "grand dome (of the White House)", and very few hits for simply "grand dome".

 
  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I have a question: If I first speak "The White House", then say "The Grand Dome." What would you associate with when you hear "The Grand Dome" or "The Dome"?
    I would assume that the White House had a "Dome" similar to the one on The Capitol or other buildings which have a "Dome".

    If I knew that it didn't I'd probably assume that you were under the mistaken impression that it did.

    Why do you ask? :confused:
     
    Last edited:

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Thank you.

    I have a question: If I first speak "The White House", then say "The Grand Dome." What would you associate with when you hear "The Grand Dome" or "The Dome"?
    To be honest I don't understand this question. If you are just shooting out random nouns at me, I would be surprised. Are you imagining a sentence here?
     

    NewAmerica

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Okay. Thank you. ;)

    I imagined that you native speakers would associate it at once with the Dome of the Capitol. Now it is clear that is not the case.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Okay. Thank you. ;)

    I imagined that you native speakers would associate it at once with the Dome of the Capitol. Now it is clear that is not the case.
    I've been to the Capitol, but since I've never heard "grand dome" in reference to that building, I would not have the slightest idea what you were talking about.
     

    NewAmerica

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    I've been to the Capitol, but since I've never heard "grand dome" in reference to that building, I would not have the slightest idea what you were talking about.
    Yeah. true English is in the heart of native English speakers and is hard to write down.

    Isn't the dome of the capitol the dome of power? ;)
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Yeah. true English is in the heart of native English speakers and is hard to write down.

    Isn't the dome of the capitol the dome of power? ;)
    I've not heard that one either.
    Please note that Capitol, referring to the building where the U.S. Congress meets, is a proper noun and therefore capitalized./
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Yes, it's just the Capitol dome in my experience. Maybe if you were analyzing the building as an art historian you might use words like that but not as an everyday reference.

    In the US, we are reluctant to give “grand” titles to our government buildings or the parts thereof.
    It's the White House, not the White Palace.:)
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    The current dome is not the original one and is officially The Capitol Dome.

    https://www.aoc.gov/dome

    U.S. CAPITOL DOME RESTORATION PROJECT

    The original dome is now referred to as the "old Bullfinch dome" (Bullfinch designed the original).

    Lesr you think I am generally knowledgeable about arcane facts of the US Capital building, I did some quick research:

    United States Capitol | building, Washington, District of Columbia, United States

    The major architectural change to the Capitol during Walter’s tenure was the replacement of the old Bulfinch dome with a 287-foot- (87-metre-) high cast-iron dome, which Walter modeled after the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, designed by Michelangelo



    And more information than you'd ever want to know about the dome: https://www.aoc.gov/dome/by-the-numbers
     

    NewAmerica

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    That is informative, guys.

    And I did have read the Capitol dome as the result of searching "grand dome."

    The dome is grand, not because of its physical shape or architectural beauty, but because of its ideological value. It is grand spiritually because it is the symbol of American democracy which has ever shined over the world like a beacon even like the sun.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Maybe it should have that role, but I don't think it does to Americans. It's just part of a building. :)

    If anything is a symbol it's the flag, the Constitution and the Statue of Liberty.
     

    glamorgan

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    That is informative, guys.

    And I did have read the Capitol dome as the result of searching "grand dome."

    The dome is grand, not because of its physical shape or architectural beauty, but because of its ideological value. It is grand spiritually because it is the symbol of American democracy which has ever shined over the world like a beacon even like the sun.
    Sometimes the word “grand” is used as a name for an architectural feature, for example “the Grand Staircase” of a palace. It can also be used to indicate a personal or subjective response to something, so an individual could refer to the dome of the Capitol as “grand” because of the ideas it inspires or expresses.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Sometimes the word “grand” is used as a name for an architectural feature, for example “the Grand Staircase” of a palace. It can also be used to indicate a personal or subjective response to something, so an individual could refer to the dome of the Capitol as “grand” because of the ideas it inspires or expresses.
    "Could?" Well yes. The point here is that we DON'T.
     

    glamorgan

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    "Could?" Well yes. The point here is that we DON'T.
    I don’t understand your point. It would be perfectly correct for an individual to refer to “the grand dome of the Capitol” in the context of a description of the building. Whether or not anyone else considers the dome to be “grand” is clearly up to them.

    The dome of Saint Paul's Cathedral in London doesn’t have a name but enthusiastic visitors have referred to it as “the grand dome of Saint Paul's.” The only problem I can see with the phrase is that, in this context, ”grand” sounds a bit old-fashioned.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I don’t understand your point. It would be perfectly correct for an individual to refer to “the grand dome of the Capitol” in the context of a description of the building. Whether or not anyone else considers the dome to be “grand” is clearly up to them.
    It has nothing to do with being grammatically correct. We colonials just don't call it that ... or or the equally "correct," "big, round overhead thingy," for that matter.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Part of the question asked above was whether it sounded "natural" and whether people would automatically associate the term with the Capitol building. And the answer is no for both of those. It's perfectly grammatical, but it's not a natural reference to the Capitol dome because it isn't commonly referred to that way and it wouldn't trigger any cultural associations if you used it. Grand would simply be an adjective there, like tall or white.
     

    glamorgan

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    It has nothing to do with being grammatically correct. We colonials just don't call it that ... or or the equally "correct," "big, round overhead thingy," for that matter.
    I’m not making a grammatical point, nor do I understand why you refer to “We colonials”. I’m saying that an individual, wishing to put into words an emotional response to the sight of the Capitol dome, could perfectly well use the phrase “the grand dome of the Capitol.”

    If you search Google for “the grand dome of the Capitol” and include the quotation marks you will find a fair number of examples of how this phrase has been used, including by a writer in the New York Times.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I’m not making a grammatical point, nor do I understand why you refer to “We colonials”. I’m saying that an individual, wishing to put into words an emotional response to the sight of the Capitol dome, could perfectly well use the phrase “the grand dome of the Capitol.”
    Certainly, despite its irrelevance to this thread. (which you would do well to read in its entirely)
     

    glamorgan

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    Certainly, despite its irrelevance to this thread. (which you would do well to read in its entirely)
    I have read the thread and I consider that my comments have been relevant and constructive. If you feel that they might mislead the OP, or any other readers, I’m sure you will add a comment explaining the flaws in mine.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    The Capitol Dome is certainly a grand dome, and while “grand” is certainly an apt adjective it is not a part of the dome’s name anymore than “great” might be a part of “the great state of Texas”. The state is simply “Texas”, the other words are modifiers.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    What would you associate with when you hear "The Grand Dome" or "The Dome"?
    Nothing. (Perhaps the local sports stadium.)

    Does "The grand dome of the White House" sound natural to you?

    Google search shows no hits for "grand dome (of the White House)", and very few hits for simply "grand dome".
    Because those two have no pre-existing cultural association in the American consciousness.

    It's not a question of language or grammar it's one of culture, which is outside the scope of the forum.
     
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