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View Poll Results: Is it a definite article?
Yes 3 30.00%
No 4 40.00%
Either 3 30.00%
Neither 0 0%
Voters: 10. You may not vote on this poll

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Unread 08-30-2010, 04:19 PM
 
Location: Tampa
2,602 posts, read 3,936,411 times
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Giving a highway a definite article occurs every now in then, but only for certain highways. You'll almost never hear of an interstate highway (say, I-4) being called "the 4," but you'll hear some state-maintained freeways (say, Florida 408/East-West Expressway in Orlando) called "the 408." Using a definite article seems to only occur with three-digit highways, which leads me to believe that it has something to do with the rhythm in pronunciation. Or not. Who knows!
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Unread 08-30-2010, 05:39 PM
 
Location: FROM Dixie, but IN SoCal
2,630 posts, read 1,759,879 times
Reputation: 2443
The real answer is [here it comes]: "It depends."

It depends entirely on local usage. As a previous poster wrote, here in California the locals refer to "The 5", "The 2", "The 10" and etc. What's worse, they also refer to the very same freeways by other names such as "The Golden State Freeway" (aka The 5), "The Glendale Freeway" (aka The 2), "The Santa Monica Freeway" (aka The 10). Its enough to drive the visitor or recently-relocated person straight into the nearest bar...

In other areas of the country, local usage refers to "I-285" or "Interstate 10". In both cases, should the need arise, the appropriate article is most likely to be "the" rather than "a".

As syndicated radio humorist Red Neckerson often said, "That's my opinion; oughta be yours!"
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Unread 08-31-2010, 01:17 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
9,116 posts, read 5,825,524 times
Reputation: 7245
Quote:
Originally Posted by ferret111 View Post
Giving a highway a definite article occurs every now in then, but only for certain highways. You'll almost never hear of an interstate highway (say, I-4) being called "the 4," but you'll hear some state-maintained freeways (say, Florida 408/East-West Expressway in Orlando) called "the 408." Using a definite article seems to only occur with three-digit highways, which leads me to believe that it has something to do with the rhythm in pronunciation. Or not. Who knows!
In California if your talking about the I-5, people will call it "the 5". It's a regional variation to call all highways except dedicated streets "the". Usually it will lack the I as well.

I don't think anything needs to be "corrected" about how we refer to a highway, since its a form of regional dialect. I won't tell anyone here that the thing I push and put my groceries in has to be a cart or basket. If they want to call it a buggy fine, but it would feel wierd for me to. But thats the beauty of language, it grows and has its individual moments.
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Unread 11-28-2012, 02:50 PM
 
1 posts, read 111 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
To answer the grammatical question, the name of the Interstate highway is a NAME, and therefore does not take any article. It is not "The I-35" nor is it "An I-35". It is just "I-35", like "Abraham Lincoln" or "Tucumcari, New Mexico" or "Fox News".
One can retort that it is "The I-35", like "The Kara-Kum", "The Middle East", "The Thames". Why not?
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