won <a Nobel Prize / the Nobel Prize / Nobel Prizes>

8769

Senior Member
Japanese and Japan
Are both correct, #1 and #2?


There are more people in Japan who have won ( ) than in any other Asian country.
1. a Nobel Prize
2. Nobel Prizes



I think #1 is correct, but I’m not sure about #2. What do you think?

 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I prefer #2, because "who" refers to the plural form people, so they would have won "prizes". For the same reason, it is "who have won" rather than "who has won".

    (Actually, I am not certain about this. I am waiting to see whether someone has the opposite view.)
     

    Prower

    Banned
    Russian
    Is it possible to use it the "the" article at all?

    There are more people in Japan who have won the Nobel Prize than in any other Asian country.

    Won't it be just a generalization of all the prizes won?
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Is it possible to use it the "the" article at all?

    There are more people in Japan who have won the Nobel Prize than in any other Asian country.

    Won't it be just a generalization of all the prizes won?
    This sounds ok. It is so well-known that the fits perfectly.
    But Nobel Prizes is also possible, although it might mean refer to people winning more than one Nobel Prize (if that is possible :)).
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    I prefer Prower's sentence. This is a perennial problem in English. Does 'The boys brought their pens' mean that each boy had one pen or more than one? In this instance, I think we can say 'the Nobel Prize.' A Nobel Prize isn't normally shared by hundreds of people and not many people win more than one Nobel Prize.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't think "the Nobel Prize" fits at all well. There are some Nobel Prizes awarded each year, each in a different field of endeavour, so what could the Nobel Prize be referring to?. My preference is for "a Nobel Prize" (ie one of the prizes available at the time it was won), but "Nobel Prizes" seems a perfectly reasonable alternative.
     

    Prower

    Banned
    Russian
    I don't think "the Nobel Prize" fits at all well. There are some Nobel Prizes awarded each year, each in a different field of endeavour, so what could the Nobel Prize be referring to? (I thought to all of the ones awared). My preference is for "a Nobel Prize" (ie one of the prizes available at the time it was won), but "Nobel Prizes" seems a perfectly reasonable alternative.
    I thought that The Noble Prize has a collective meaning which implies all the Noble Prizes.

    Something like "the rose" generalizes all the roses in the world.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, but that does not provide the context in which the words are used, and the ngram for British English is very different from the ngrams for English and for American English.

    I would expect the Nobel Prize to be the most common form, since it includes usage such as the Nobel Prize in Physics, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and the Nobel Prize in Literature. I'd go so far as to suggest that using the ngram as evidence in a discussion in the context of this thread is chasing a red herring.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The ngram does not differ for British or American English.
    Granted that it does not include name of the individual prize, but if you look the corpuses (e.g. COCA), "the Nobel Prize" by itself occurs roughly twice as often as "a Nobel Prize".
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    -
    Swedish
    As the Nobel Prize is an award, isn't it better to say that the Nobel Prize laureates are awarded the prize, rather than that they have won it?
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    The ngram does not differ for British or American English.
    It does, radically:

    American English the Nobel prize,a Nobel prize,Nobel prizes
    British English the Nobel prize,a Nobel prize,Nobel prizes

    I suggest that you read through the results in the British National Corpus carefully. There are 80 results in 57 texts for the nobel prize. Approximately half refer to specific prizes (some using for rather than in) and there 6 references to the Nobel Prize Committee. Most of the rest refer to individuals winning a specific prize - eg:
    ... The award of the Nobel prize to Rigoberta Menchu means ...
    ... it would be his first composition since the award of the Nobel Prize ...
    ... contribution to quantum theory, and it won him the Nobel Prize in 1922. (He should have won a Nobel Prize for ...

    That third quotation, using both the and a reinforces my point.

    None of the 80 results uses the phrase the Nobel Prize in the way that is suggested for its use in this thread's context.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I thought that The Noble Prize has a collective meaning which implies all the Noble Prizes.

    Something like "the rose" generalizes all the roses in the world.
    The following quotations are examples of the Nobel Prize used as a collective term.

    (1) Since 1901, the Nobel Prize has been awarded to men and women from all corners of the globe for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and for work in peace.
    [http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/lists/index.html?print=1]

    (2) The Nobel Prize has been awarded to 35 women since 1901. One woman, Marie Curie, has been awarded the Nobel Prize two times, in 1903 (the Nobel Prize in Physics) and in 1911 (the Nobel Prize in Chemistry).
    [http://scientistsandengineersforcha...ow-many-women-have-won-the-nobel-prize-award]

    (3) The Nobel Prize has been awarded to 25 alumni and 21 faculty members.
    http://graduate.universityofcalifornia.edu/admissions/campuses/berkeley/index.html

    It is possible to replace the with a in the above, if you want.

    Evidence suggesting that the Nobel Prize is used more often comes from
    (a) Google ngram: the graph shows a more pronounced curve (somewhat less pronounced for British English) for “won the Nobel Prize” and “awarded the Nobel Prize” (in both cases compared with “a Nobel Prize”. However, we cannot easily inspect the source data.
    (b) Google books
    (c) The corpuses. Here you can search for “the [or a] Nobel Prize” ending in a full stop, comma etc. or for “won [or awarded] the [or a] Nobel Prize”. Try as I might, I cannot find any results where “a” is more common, although sometimes the differences are not as great as one might think at first sight. One also has to be careful to distinguish between a particular prize (e.g. in Physiology and Medicine) and any prize (as in the thread question).

    I therefore conclude that both “the Nobel Prize” and “a Nobel Prize” can be used, depending on whether you are thinking of a specific prize or all the prizes collectively.
     
    Last edited:

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thank you for that sterling effort which I find interesting. I accept that some people are happy to use There are more people in Japan who have won the Nobel Prize than in any other Asian country. My preference remains a Nobel Prize, and I don't expect that I shall start to use the in this context.
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    I see Andygc's reason for preferring 'a Noble Prize' but I still prefer 'the' if only because the Nobel Prize is so special and it's difficult to get one. I'd definitely say 'Elfriede Jelinek won the Nobel Prize for Literature.' 'The Nobel Prize' is a sort of title. 'Elfriede Jelinek won a Nobel Prize...' might imply that lots of people won one in the same year or that it wasn't very important, like winning a prize at a fairground. 'The Nobel Prize' doesn't imply that only one has ever been awarded.
     

    primroseheel

    Senior Member
    korean-korea
    This new question has been added to a previous thread.
    Cagey, moderator

    She won a Nobel Prize in Literature.

    Is this sentence correct?
    Can't I say the Nobel Prize, because Nobel is a person's name?
    When do you put a, the, or no article before Nobel Prize?
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    MaryParker12

    New Member
    English - United States
    She won a Nobel Prize in Literature.

    Is this sentence correct?
    Can't I say the Nobel Prize, because Nobel is a person's name?
    When do you put a, the, or no article before Nobel Prize?
    This is a correct sentence. It could mean that the person in question won a Nobel Prize in literature in any year in the past (not specified).

    However, 'the' works in the following sentence thus:
    'She won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature'.
    If the year isn't mentioned, we shouldn't use 'the', since there's not just one unique Nobel Prize; it is awarded every year in different subjects.
    Also, using no article isn't grammatically correct.
     

    primroseheel

    Senior Member
    korean-korea
    This is a correct sentence. It could mean that the person in question won a Nobel Prize in literature in any year in the past (not specified).

    However, 'the' works in the following sentence thus:
    'She won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature'.
    If the year isn't mentioned, we shouldn't use 'the', since there's not just one unique Nobel Prize; it is awarded every year in different subjects.
    Also, using no article isn't grammatically correct.
    Thank you for your clarification.
    If the person won the prize twice, can I say he has won the Nobel Prize twice?
    Thanks in advance.
     
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