Earth or the Earth
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it happened around the Earth or
it happened around Earth
When do you use 'the' and when not?
It's rare that one or the other would be entirely wrong, but there's a flavor to the use of one or another in a given context, tied, basically to the ambiguity of earth as thing and as planetary name.
Generally, leaving off the "the" has a slightly more scientific or futuristic flavor to it. It implies you're thinking about the topic impartially, and your words aren't tied to the fact that you are—or are not—on the Earth. So, an alien would never say "The Earth is the third planet from the sun. I wonder what it's like." They'd say "Earth is..."
That's the best I can do. Help?
I don't think I would capitalise "Earth" when used with "the", though now I'm wondering if that is the right grammar, or if it's an instinctive thing because of how I perceive the word, but also can't properly explain.
In fact, thinking on it further, if the topic were outer space and planets or the like, I would only use "Earth" - it's looking at the planet from outside, and it lines up with "Saturn", "Mercury", etc - I wouldn't use "the" for those names in that context, either. But if Earth is the only planet under consideration, and not being discussed in context of space and other extraterrestrial bodies, I would use "the earth" - I think.
(PS: "earth" has just lost all meaning for me. earth earth earth earth. What a strange little word it is.)
If the Earth is just "Earth" when considered from the outside, i.e. Mercury Venus, Earth..., why is the Moon always referred to as "the Moon" and not just "Moon"?
Also, why is the moon just called Moon? The moons of other planets are mostly all named, (Io, Europa, Ganymede, etc...); I wonder why such a prominent and important astronomical object is effectively named Biro?
P.S. and the more I write moon, the stranger it looks!
When I was taking astronomy classes and we were talking about moons and needed to specify our moon, it was often called "Earth's moon", rather than "the moon", which is more analogous to "the moons" of another planet, maybe even "the second moon" if we had assigned an arbitrary order to a specific set. When talking about stars, if we used the word "sun" for any of them, then our sun would shift to "Sol", but because there is the other word for the same thing ("star"), "the sun" would usually suffice. In fact, I think that if the moon were to be given a name, it would be Lune or Luna or whatever the Latin is.
You've got me wondering about this, and now I'm wanting to read more about the usage of these words. I wonder if anyone has done research into it.
X means either earth, Earth, the earth or the Earth.
I was farming X all day long.
After invading from Mars, the inhabitants of Venus farmed X for 2 million years.
The Apollo rocket left X's atmosphere on the way to space.
The atmosphere of X is 80% unobtanium.
At the beginning of Genesis, the Bible describes the spirit of God moving over waters of X.
The order of the planets is Venus, Mercury, X, Mars.
After Venus and Mercury, X is the third planet.
Aren't "Earth", "Sun" and "Moon" proper nouns, the names of these bodies, and as such shouldn't they always start with a capital letter?
They'd say it in alien.
If you're trying to say that something happened all over the world, then I think I would avoid using the word "Earth", as it doesn't sound quite right.
If you wanted to say something was happening in the vicinity of the blue & green planet, I think I would say "the Earth", unless you're writing something which talks about the other planets, like a sci-fi or scientific/astronomical piece, in which case I would say "Earth".
I don't think that either usage would be incorrect. ' The' is what’s called a definite article, it tells you that you're talking about something specific e.g.:
- 'An' apple (indefinite article): you could be talking about any apple
- ‘The’ apple (definite article): you are talking about one specific apple.
In the case of proper nouns, in many cases, the use of a definite article is unnecessary because the fact that you are talking about a specific item is already clear. For example, you don’t need to say ‘the Jupiter’, because you could only possibly be talking about one thing; there aren’t other Jupiters from which you need to differentiate. That’s not to say that you can’t use a definite article where it sounds natural to do so, it’s just unnecessary.
Personally, I would only use ‘the’ if I was talking about earth meaning soil/land/etc. Eg. ‘The earth in my paddock is highly acidic’, where there is other earth from which to differentiate.
“Also, why is the moon just called Moon? The moons of other planets are mostly all named, (Io, Europa, Ganymede, etc...); “
We need a definite article in front of ‘moon’ because moon also has a usage as a synonym for natural satellites (e.g. I’m interested in the moons of Jupiter). ‘The’ is there to show we are talking about a specific moon (in this case, Earth’s)
Recalling resolution 1884 (XVIII), calling upon States to refrain from placing in orbit around the earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction or from installing such weapons on celestial bodies,
States Parties to the Treaty undertake not to place in orbit around the earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons
In the treaty they are using "the" earth but in the journals there is different usage of with or without the earth.
My specific example:
Most of these objects are no longer functional nor in orbit around Earth and have since accumulated.
Should it be with "the"?
I'd suggest you talk with NASA, so you have a source for your work, but all NASA documents and communications (such as http://oiir.hq.nasa.gov/globablreach2008.pdf) always refer to our planet as "Earth".
It may also help you to talk with NASA about the term "outer space" as there are many levels of orbit and "space", and I'm guessing you need to be precise in your choice of terminology?
Edited for clarity.
all NASA documents and communications always refer to our planet as "Earth".
If you mean "Earth" not "the Earth"—the original question at issue—they don't. See http://www.google.com/search?q=%22the+earth%22&btnGNS=Search+nasa.gov&oi...
Most of these objects are no longer functional nor in orbit around Earth and have since accumulated."
I would change this to "the Earth", just because it sounds better to my ear, but it would be perfectly acceptable English usage to leave it as it is.