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ESL forum > Ask for help > I am confused :(    

I am confused :(

Saudi Arabia

I am confused :(
I posted a topic asking about using the with Earth ?
Now I am confused after reading the text in the student book .
I read like these sentences :

1- Earth is about twice as big as Mars.

2- Earth has an atmosphere around it.
3- For this reason, the Earth has seasons.

4- The Earth’s hard surface looks stationary but it is not. It moves very slowly because the inside of the Earth is very hot.

5- But the heat from the centre of the Earth sometimes melts this rock.

Why???  Why in the first 2 sentences the is not used however it is used in the rest?
Thanks a lot

17 Dec 2010      

United States

I don ´t know  - but it sounds wrong to me.
I would use THE Earth in the first two sentences too.

Remember - just because something is published doesn ´t mean it is entirely correct.

17 Dec 2010     


I would also use THE Earth in the first two sentences although, it doesn ´t sound strange to me without it. I think both are correct  speaking wise but I think you need THE before Earth in written form.
@Libertybelle, I have to agree with you regarding the publishing part.

17 Dec 2010     


Yeah, I agree with Errie -- both seem fine to me.

"Earth" seems to have a romantic connotation to it (like what you´d hear during a documentary about Space and the planets in the solar system...with the some famous man with a deep voice doing the voiceoverGeek--I like those kinds of documentariesLOL).  So, "Earth" is a familiar name for an object.
But, "The Earth" seems more scientific, and gives me the feeling of talking about something external to humans.  (i.e. The Earth as an entity in and of itself).  "The" seems to make it only an object.
I think the use of "The U.S." and "America" is comparable.  In Canada, I think most people refer to the country to the south as, "The U.S." and would never really use "America".  But I think many Americans refer to their country as "America".  It usually sounds strange to me because for me, "America" refers to North America, South America, and Central America.  So, I think it reflects familiarity with the object, linguistically.

17 Dec 2010     


Both forms are correct.
The first sentences use Earth as a name of a planet, comparing it with other planets in our galaxy ie: Mars, and discussing its atmosphere. It is treating Earth in the same way as Mars, Venus etc, - no ´the ´.
Historically we have called our planet ´The Earth ´ and this is the form used in the other sentences.
It is an example of our changing language.

17 Dec 2010     


dear friend

I think we don ´t use the ) with name that we refer to for the first time. In third sentence we must use the because we refer to the earth before

17 Dec 2010     


Hi pretty3, here ´s your own explanation, a week ago :

Saudi Arabia

mmmmmmmm I did my research.
Finally I summerized what I wanted :
Use the + earth whene we talk about outer space and science.
Use Earth only without the when we talk about the planet earth itself.

11 Dec 2010  

17 Dec 2010     

United Kingdom

Dear Pretty3,

Please accept the excellent advice regarding published work, given to you by Libertybelle. 
Anyone, qualified or unqualified, can write on the Internet!
Something that is in printed form is not necessarily accurate, because it often reflects the opinion of the writer!  To see evidence of this, read two newspapers articles which give opposite sides of a political, or economic, or environmental, or religious, or linguistic argument.
The quality of what is written depends on the writer ´s knowledge, experience, subject-qualification, research undertaken, statistics used, reference to other works, substantiating proof, and ability to explain, plus other attributes.  We on ESLP are very fortunate, because many of our colleagues possess these qualities.
In my opinion, I believe that the writer (in the passage quoted) is viewing and describing the Earth in a different manner in sentences 1 to 2, compared to sentences 3 to 5.
In sentences 1 to 2, he/she sees Earth as one of the distant planets in space, (similar to Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, etc.)  It has an initial capital letter, so he/she regards it as a ´Proper Noun ´, comparing it with another ´Proper Noun ´, Mars.
In "A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language", 2010, page 267, Professors Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, and Svartvik concur with the ´zero article ´ in this situation. (In other words, with no ´the ´.)
"The space ship returned to earth this morning".
Compare sentences 1 and 2, which use ´Proper Nouns ´, with:
"Sam is about twice as big as Tom"
"Sam has a blanket around him".
However, in sentences 3 to 5, the writer sees the Earth, not as a Proper Noun, but as a familiar object, close at hand, of which there is only one.  In these circumstances, Quirk et al refer to ´the earth ´; ´the sun ´; ´the moon ´, etc.
Nevertheless,  they make it clear that, in idioms and in general usage, "earth is often used with the zero article".

From my point of view, in the passage quoted, I would have written ´the earth ´ on every occasion, because ´the planet earth ´ is one specific planet, among a group of planets.  The writing would thus have been regular throughout.  But this is just my personal preference.

I think that the other Members have made valid points.
I hope that I have helped you.

17 Dec 2010     

United States

HEEEEY. Welcome back Les!!!

17 Dec 2010     


Les, it ´s a joy to see you in the forum again! Hug

17 Dec 2010     

Saudi Arabia

thanks all of you.

17 Dec 2010     

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