The Definite Article

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toby
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The Definite Article

Post by toby » 09 May 2015 15:16

I have always been aware of being a member of "The Beacon" and have heard other members referring to other cycling clubs such as "The Stourbridge". This way of expressing the name of ones club appears peculiar to cycling. Other sports clubs I played for did not refer to themselves in this manner. I played hockey for "Blossomfield" in Solihull, rather than "The Blossomfield", for instance. Last night, I watched the quaintly enthusiastic Alf Engers documentary at The MAC and was further intrigued by this quirk of nomenclature, as Alf referred to "The Barnet" and "The Saracen". Could one our more learned members tell me more about this?

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Andy Terry
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Post by Andy Terry » 09 May 2015 16:48

I've only ever come across it in cycling. I rode a bit with The Bromsgrove before I joined The Beacon.

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Philip Whiteman
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Post by Philip Whiteman » 09 May 2015 18:42

How about the definite article for cycling events. There has been a tradition amongst cyclists for using the definite article where the said event is regarded as prestigious and one that must be entered at all cost. One such example is The Kidderminster Killer.
Beacon Audaxes The Kidderminster Killer & From Clee to Heaven 20.7.19; Autumn South Salopian 5.10.19. www.beaconrcc.org.uk/

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CakeStop
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Post by CakeStop » 09 May 2015 19:41

When I was a teenager I used to go to watch the Blues and the Villa (but in the latter case only because I was given free tickets).
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petemarshall
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Post by petemarshall » 10 May 2015 07:13

It's a class thing. Working class sports, cycling football use "the".
Posh sports don't
I supported the Blues at football but followed Warwickshire at cricket.

Now cycling is moving up the British class system I expect to be a member of Beacon soon and follow Birmingham City (although if the Blues even manage to become a middle class team the world will truly be turned upside down.

Posh fans of the V***a ,mainly from Sutton Coldfield have always failed to use the the. Some even using the alternate name of West Ham United.

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keith
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Post by keith » 10 May 2015 08:40

I always refer to the them Lions as 'the Villa' also the blues and the Albion


That's because I'm lower class, I look up to him but not as much as i look up to him as he is upper class.

Doesn't the 'The' take the place of the first word ie 'The Villa' but Aston Villa,so 'the Beacon but Beacon Roads ,not sure that that really works .anyway one would only ever say Chelsea because they are like really posh
Yar

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George
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Post by George » 10 May 2015 08:55

Sorry, I'm going to disagree with most of you in one way or another.

It isn't exclusive to cycling; it isn't even exclusive to sport; it isn't a class thing and there is no clear grammatical reason that I know of why one should use an article or not use an article.

As others have said, it's very common in football too. Everyone at school prefixed local club names with 'the', and I still do so. "Up the Villa" is a very old exhortation that lives on in the widely used hashtag #UTV. However, at no point in my life has the definite article been comfortably applicable to all football club names: you would often hear people say "the City" (not only when speaking about the Blues) and you might occasionally hear someone say "the Spurs", but never "the United" or "the Everton". If you look at formal documents, I'm fairly sure a lot of club names include an article ("Article 1. The company shall be called the Warwickshire County Anysport Club"), and in common parlance you'll hear phrases such as "the Warwicks", "the Wigornians" etc. I'm fairly sure I have ancient tickets that have T&Cs that include articles.

In my line of work, I write and translate for a lot of companies, foundations, professional associations and what-have-you. Many of them have 'house styles': they want you to consistently write certain things in certain ways. Many of them want to be referred to as "the XYZ Foundation" and just as many of them opt for "XYZ Foundation". There is no rhyme or reason to it... unless perhaps a vague sense that "the XYZ Foundation" sounds a tiny bit more solid and formal and "XYZ Foundation" a tiny bit more dynamic and approachable.

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Post by Pedlo Mudguardo » 10 May 2015 10:43

#UTV.

:D

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CakeStop
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Post by CakeStop » 10 May 2015 15:13

petemarshall wrote:.... but followed Warwickshire at cricket.
You'd have to follow the Bears instead these days (sadly)
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Post by Tim » 10 May 2015 16:35

Is this a good time to ask what is possibly a very stupid question? Why is it roads and not road in Beacon Roads Cycling Club?!

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George
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Post by George » 10 May 2015 16:44

Tim wrote:Is this a good time to ask what is possibly a very stupid question? Why is it roads and not road in Beacon Roads Cycling Club?!
There is much confusion about that, Tim. I have asked (near-)founder members and generally found their responses vague or otherwise unsatisfactory.

The best explanation I've heard, or at least the one that best caters for my desire for there to be a satisfactory explanation, is that the club was originally based on the roads over and around Beacon Hill.

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Post by laurence_cooley » 10 May 2015 18:16

There's also Walsall Roads, so it's not just the Beacon that uses the plural. Can anyone think of any clubs that you wouldn't use "the" for? Although it's not unique to cycling that the definite article can sometimes be used, I can't think of any other sports where it can be applied to all clubs (I had an American girlfriend for a while who insisted on "the Rangers" and "the Celtic", which is clearly wrong).

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Post by toby » 10 May 2015 20:26

Hmmm... I am never particularly swayed by arguments around class. If we look at football, a resolutely working class game, clubs with "County" in their name are always "County" and never "The County", the latter I reckon is a more middle class way of expressing it. Also, Nottingham Forest is always "Forest" and not "The Forest". And I can say with some amount of authority that it is "Spurs" and not "The Spurs" but in my experience of West Midlands teams, I think "Villa" and "The Villa" are interchangeable. My wife would say she supports "Blues" but if visiting a home game at St Andrews would be "going down The Blues" whereas "The Albion" is always "The Albion". And Wolves are never "The Wolves" but who really cares about them?

So I would contend that this style is fairly unique to cycling, if we look at Andy's response above, referring to "The Bromsgrove". It must be just me that this sounds strange to.

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Philip Whiteman
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Post by Philip Whiteman » 10 May 2015 20:47

toby wrote: So I would contend that this style is fairly unique to cycling, if we look at Andy's response above, referring to "The Bromsgrove". It must be just me that this sounds strange to.
I must admit that I have only ever referred to them as Bromsgrove Olympic, without the definite article. As for 'The Stourbridge', that could cause confusion given that there are three clubs that bear Stourbridge somewhere within their club title.
Beacon Audaxes The Kidderminster Killer & From Clee to Heaven 20.7.19; Autumn South Salopian 5.10.19. www.beaconrcc.org.uk/

toby
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Post by toby » 10 May 2015 21:16

Ok - The Bromsgrove wasn't my example, Phil. But i will defer to a former member. My research so far has turned up this as a local example;

"The Halesowen is a cycling club, somewhere you can come & enjoy riding your bike, race or just meet new friends too. We are proud to wear purple :)"

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petemarshall
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Post by petemarshall » 10 May 2015 22:38

toby wrote:
"The Halesowen is a cycling club, somewhere you can come & enjoy riding your bike, race or just meet new friends too. We are proud to wear purple :)"
and I thought they were just the UKIP cycling team :shock:

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keith
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Post by keith » 10 May 2015 23:18

It must be a slow night on telly How many times can you watch the Villa's goal from yesterday. just to confuse things Peterborough United have always been called 'the Posh'. Hysterical when the Mrs Beckham tried to stop them using it , or was that an just an urban myth .
Some motorcycle clubs/Gangs are known as The Wolverhampton the 69 and the Coventry (2 wheel thing ?)
I think it assumes that every one knows the full name
I guess in the end its what sounds good or right

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Post by Matt Hale » 11 May 2015 11:08

laurence_cooley wrote:There's also Walsall Roads, so it's not just the Beacon that uses the plural. Can anyone think of any clubs that you wouldn't use "the" for?
It seems to work for most clubs, although not sure it would work for all eg 'Solihull CC'...don't hear anyone referring to them as 'The Solihull'

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CakeStop
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Post by CakeStop » 11 May 2015 18:14

Nice to ride on more than one road, adds a bit of variety, although one local club resorts to riding on the path as well as the road in order to achieve that.
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John
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Post by John » 12 May 2015 16:22

It's partly a local dialect thing to - in Birmingham lots of things are prefixed with the definite article such as the Hagley Road, or the Pershore Road.

The clubs where I grew up were never prefixed and were just referred to by name, and I still don't refer to this club as The Beacon.

toby
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Post by toby » 12 May 2015 19:43

John wrote:It's partly a local dialect thing to - in Birmingham lots of things are prefixed with the definite article such as the Hagley Road, or the Pershore Road.

The clubs where I grew up were never prefixed and were just referred to by name, and I still don't refer to this club as The Beacon.
John - The example from the Alf Engers documentary I mentioned, The Barnet, are/were in North London/South Herts. An area where I have family.

I also referred to his mention of The Saracen. I intend to find out whether this is the Saracen Road Club, on our doorstep.

If you do not refer to the club as "The Beacon", you need to start :)

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Post by John » 12 May 2015 19:50

Flat mate (he's been in clubs for 15 years across the country) and I can't think of any other examples...

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Grogz
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Post by Grogz » 13 May 2015 08:43

Anyone have their savings at the Halifax, the Woolwich (ah, now the Barclays) or the Abbey (doh, the Santander)? 😏

BTW, we do get Solihull club members in the shop ( should it just be 'in shop'?) referring to 'the Solihull'. Maybe the the just sounds right in some cases and not others?

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