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Re: Some curious uses of "the"

Posted by Bookworm on January 14, 2004

In Reply to: Re: Some curious uses of "the" posted by Fred on January 14, 2004

: : : Why there are "the"s here?
: : : 1.Dolly the sheep
: : : 2.Alexander the Great
: : : Do you have other examples of this kind?

: : : And
: : : 3.In "Rain Music", there is a sentence saying:
: : : "His soft, black curls rest against the white of the pillow..."
: : : "the white of the pillow?" Why not use "the white pillow"?

: : : thanks!

: : I am not sure how to answer this. In the first example, the adjective is part of the name. Alexander THE Great sounds better than Great Alexander. Plus "the" means "the Alexander who is great as opposed to the other Alexanders." Like Alexander the Not-So-Great.

: : "White of the pillow" just sounds prettier, more poetic than "white pillow."

: : Anyone else got any insight?

: Does this sentence help: 'Dolly, the sheep among the animals
: in the barn, was cloned.' Dropping "the" won't yield a sentence.

The use of the word "the" in "...the white of the pillow" is used to emphasize the contrast between the whiteness of the pillow and the blackness of his hair. Saying "His soft, black curls rest against the white pillow" does not stress the constrast. The pillow could just as well be any color.