Monday, March 02, 2009

The Third Age

The name of this Singapore-based organization, Council for Third Age, has always struck me as somewhat illiterate: it cries out for a definite article, the, before the ordinal third.

Compare this with the UK-based University of the Third Age:

Why Second Life and not The Second Life, then? Probably because it is considered to be a proper name, making the definite article redundant or wrong — for the same reason that we wouldn’t normally say *The George is coming. We could, however, say You are not the George I used to know, but this would be a special case of treating George as a common noun rather than a proper noun.


Nichole said...

Hi there,

I've been following your blog and I think it's interesting to share this with my students. Can I ask for your permission to show some of your posts during my english class time?


The Grammar Terrorist said...

Hi, Nichole

Sure, I'm delighted that you find it useful enough to share with your students.

Happy teaching!