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"on earth" vs. "on the earth"


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"on earth" vs. "on the earth" #1 (permalink) Thu Apr 20, 2006 14:07 pm   "on earth" vs. "on the earth"
 

English Grammar Tests, Elementary Level

ESL/EFL Test #87 "Common English Errors (3)", question 3

After visiting several galaxies, the aliens found themselves captivated by life on ..........

(a) world
(b) the world
(c) the earth
(d) earth

English Grammar Tests, Elementary Level

ESL/EFL Test #87 "Common English Errors (3)", answer 3

After visiting several galaxies, the aliens found themselves captivated by life on earth.

Correct answer: (d) earth

Your answer was: incorrect
After visiting several galaxies, the aliens found themselves captivated by life on the earth.
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Dear Sir,

Why not On The Earth ?

Thanks in advance

Enlearnercn
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On Earth #2 (permalink) Thu Apr 20, 2006 20:55 pm   On Earth
 

Hello,
In this case, on Earth is the right answer because Earth is a specific name for our planet. So, the article "the" is not necessary.
"The" is usually used in front of "world" because there's only one world for us - our world and it's not a specific name - it's more like a subject name eg) forest, ocean, people etc.) So, in the case of "in the world," the article 'the' is used; however, when it comes to Earth, an article is not necessary.
To use 'the' - in the case of Earth - would be similar to saying "I went to the England" last week.
(Aside) We usually only use 'the' with specific country names when they are plural eg) The United States, The United Arab Emirates, The Bahamas.
I hope that helps.

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Use of the article in English? #3 (permalink) Thu Apr 20, 2006 21:29 pm   Use of the article in English?
 

Hi Enlearnercn,

In addition to Linda's explanation you might want to read this story by Alan Townend: English Articles :: 'the' vs. 'a/an'.

TOEIC listening, question-response: Where do you get your suits dry-cleaned?
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On (the) earth #4 (permalink) Tue Aug 29, 2006 13:11 pm   On (the) earth
 

well, I still don't understand why we can't use 'the earth'. Then, why it is not wrong to say: 'The earth is round'? (I've just read this in the story about articles: Articles in English: The vs. A/an written by Mr. Alan Townend)
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On earth vs. on the earth #5 (permalink) Tue Aug 29, 2006 17:07 pm   On earth vs. on the earth
 

I hope this following explanantion helps a little. As you probably know, there are rules in the English language and then there are exceptions to the rules in specific circumstances.

For example. "The" is not used with non-countable nouns when you are talking about and referring to something in a general way.

[none] Italian is one of the romance languages.
[none] Soda is a carbonated drink.
[none] Love is a beautiful thing.

"The" is used with modifying or limiting phrases or clauses that make the nouns we are referring to more specific. For example:

The Italian he learned is spoken in the northern region of Italy.
The soda I bought at that store has gone flat.
The love he feels for his wife is true and rare.

This is similar to what you are referring to with "The earth is round." Because 'earth' was made more specific, we should use 'the' in front of it.
I hope that helps.
Linda
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"on earth" vs. "on the earth" #6 (permalink) Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:19 am   "on earth" vs. "on the earth"
 

Dear Linda: I understood your explanation but I am still confused because I read an advertisement that says "help the earth" is it incorrect? the correct would be "help earth"? thanks
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"on earth" vs. "on the earth" #7 (permalink) Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:16 am   "on earth" vs. "on the earth"
 

Hi,

This may help you:
http://www.english-test.net/forum/ftopic13545.html
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"on earth" vs. "on the earth" #8 (permalink) Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:26 am   "on earth" vs. "on the earth"
 

Lourdes wrote:
Dear Linda: I understood your explanation but I am still confused because I read an advertisement that says "help the earth" is it incorrect? the correct would be "help earth"? thanks

Help the Earth... because Earth is one specific planet.
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"on earth" vs. "on the earth" #9 (permalink) Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:25 am   "on earth" vs. "on the earth"
 

Beeesneees wrote:
Help the Earth... because Earth is one specific planet.

Hello Bev,

But on the other hand in the test sentence "Earth" is one specific planet too, as opposed to Mars or Venus, right? Then how come we don't use the word "the" in that sentence?

Thanks!
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"on earth" vs. "on the earth" #10 (permalink) Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:00 pm   "on earth" vs. "on the earth"
 

Sorry Tort, my mistake. I missed the earlier messages and I only read from post #6, which is the question I was trying to answer.

I can only say that 'life on earth' is one of the exceptions to the rule because it is a standard 'set' phrase.
As I've said before, you have to choose the absolute best answer from the options, and because it is a set phrase, 'earth' is the best answer there. Having said that, personally I would adjust the test so that 'the earth' doesn't appear as one of the options, because 'life on the earth' is not totally wrong.
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"on earth" vs. "on the earth" #11 (permalink) Tue Jul 27, 2010 14:00 pm   "on earth" vs. "on the earth"
 

I'm completly confused with these articles :(((((

Sorry, if we shouldn't use the in front of earth just because it's a specific name for a planet, then why do we say the Moon, the Sun? they are also specific names of celestial bodies?

Second, if we say the world just because it's one world for all of us, why don't we use the with nature? It's also one for everyone ...

Could anyone asnwer? I'm loosing my mind :(
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"on earth" vs. "on the earth" #12 (permalink) Tue Jul 27, 2010 14:20 pm   "on earth" vs. "on the earth"
 

Remula wrote:
I'm completly confused with these articles :(((((

Join the club! Acticles are by far one of the most confusing facets of English. Only few of us can say they know all about them. Articles are shrouded in mystery.

Remula wrote:
Sorry, if we shouldn't use the in front of earth just because it's a specific name for a planet, then why do we say the Moon, the Sun? they are also specific names of celestial bodies?

As was noted earlier, on Earth is a set phrase, you have to learn it by rote.

Remula wrote:
Second, if we say the world just because it's one world for all of us, why don't we use the with nature? It's also one for everyone ...

Again, there's no hard and fast rule here, "nature" and "the world" are set phrases.
Nature is cruel.
The world is awesome.
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"on earth" vs. "on the earth" #13 (permalink) Tue Jul 27, 2010 14:26 pm   "on earth" vs. "on the earth"
 

I see, I should learn all words along with their articles by heart. I can't find other logic explanation :)

I'm done :)
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"on earth" vs. "on the earth" #14 (permalink) Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:36 am   "on earth" vs. "on the earth"
 

Tort,

What about "environment"?

best regards
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"on earth" vs. "on the earth" #15 (permalink) Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:33 am   "on earth" vs. "on the earth"
 

Please correct this sentense if it is not:
The Earth is different planet than Mars and Saturn.

In this sentense Earth, Mars and Saturn are specific but instead of that I have used 'The' befor Earth.

please explain the term 'specific' and use of articles considering that.
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