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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 13th, 2012, 10:32 pm
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Default THE before an adjective

HI

I've got a sentence here:

The formulation of the Grand Council began, an institution which have an enormous impact on the future of imperial China.

This sentence gives me the doubt whether a definite article should be placed before the word IMPERIAL. yes or no, what's the difference?

I have this question also because, informally, we say Oxford University or Harvard University, without THE, as there are names preceding the word UNIVERSITY, but we often(or always?) put THE before an adjective when this adjective is the name of the university, like The Open University. Does it have anything to do with the sentence I have quoted? I tried in vain to find an answer in my books.
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Unread Jun 14th, 2012, 04:43 am
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Default Re: THE before an adjective

No. Notice that imperial has a lower case letter and is "just" an adjective preceding the proper noun. The name of the country is China. Compare this with eg the Ivory Coast where the capital letter shows that Ivory is part of the proper noun - the name of the country is Ivory Coast, not just Coast. This is the situation where the article is used.

As for your university examples - the same : Oxford and Cambridge are not adjectives so there's no need to use "the". But open is. Here it's part of the proper noun - again, notice the capital - and so the definite article is used.

This isn't a "rule" though, but a matter of convention. Notice I've said eg "there's no need to use the definite article" rather than "the definite article is not used". There are examples where The is used with a name + institution structure - eg The Chrysler Corporation Here the name is being used adjectivally whereas in eg Harvard University it isn't.
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Unread Jun 17th, 2012, 10:57 pm
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Default Re: THE before an adjective

mmm...it gives food for thought.

in wiki, I've found a sentence:

A similar situation is "ink pen" instead of just "pen" the southern United States, where "pen" and"pin" are pronounced similarly.

s in southern is a lower case letter, why has THE been used? Or should it be deleted?
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Unread Jun 18th, 2012, 03:47 am
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Default Re: THE before an adjective

Again, it's an adjective and not part of the noun. The "southern US" is just a description of a rough area, not an official name, and therefore not part of a proper noun. Compare this headline from the Guardian newspaper....
Flash flood warnings for southern England
with this one from a police website ...
The Western Isles, also known as the Outer Hebrides, are a chain of islands some 30 miles off the north-west coast of Scotland.
Notice the lack of capitalisation for southern - where again it's just a geographical description, and the capital in Western - where the word is part of the official name.
If you see northern/southern/ eastern/western capitalised when the word is not part of an official name, then it's a mistake.
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Unread Jun 18th, 2012, 09:32 pm
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Default Re: THE before an adjective

then should should THE be deleted in "the southern United States"?

(in "Flash flood warnings for southern England", which is a headline, articles are usually deleted; could this be used as reference?)
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Unread Jun 19th, 2012, 01:46 am
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Default Re: THE before an adjective

No, "the" is necessary because the name of the country is "The United States". When a proper noun includes an adjectival component (here, United) the definite article is used. Other examples include The Western Isles, as above. The adjective specifies which states, which isles etc and because of the specific reference, the definite article is used.

Other examples, though "hidden", are names like The Netherlands and The Midlands, where the adjective has "merged" with the noun to make one word.

I'm afraid I don't really understand your last question. However, even if this was a full sentence, there would be no articles : There have been warnings of flash floods in southern England.
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Unread Jun 19th, 2012, 08:50 am
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Default Re: THE before an adjective

ignore my question; I've found the answer in your replies.

thank you vey much indeed.
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