Post-college, a whole new world opened up to me.  That’s right, the world of “The.”*  In the Midwest, “the” is an article most often used prior to common nouns.  In other regions of our fine nation, I’ve found, it is used differently.  For instance, my best friend moved to southern California a couple days after my wedding.  The second time I visited her, I found her saying things like “The 10.”  See, this is how they refer to major highways and interstates in California.  Where I live, we have 35W and 494 and I-94.  In California-speak, these would be “The 35W,” “The 494” and “The 94.”  In my opinion, “The 10” needs to undergo “the knife” and lose a little weight off the front.  Or even a facelift such as “Interstate 10” or “I-10” would be helpful.


In the south (we’re talking Texas, Alabama, probably Georgia), “the” is added onto the front of locations.  We don’t go to CVS, we go to “The CVS.”  Because “The CVS” is “The Only CVS on The Planet.” 


So here’s a question: do the signs in SoCal** say “The 10”?  Do the CVS’s in ‘Bama have a sign that says “The CVS”?  Fill me in, people!


And now that I’ve made fun of your colloquialisms, feel free to poke fun at ours.  Yah.  You betcha.


* If you hate misused quotation marks, please stop reading at this point…

** I hate abbreviations like this.  Hate. Them.


14 thoughts on ““The”

  1. I only add “the” in front of Wal-Mart, i.e. “I’m goin’ to the Wal-Marts” And, you have to say it in yer best red-neck drawl. But, yeah… that’s the only time I use “the” in the manner you described us Southerners.

    I just could never get used to the accent in Minnesota. It would burn my ears. Still thinking about it hurts.

  2. My dad, who grew up in MN, had a tape called “How to Talk Minnesotan.” It talks about “hot dish” and little colored marshmallows on or in every food.

    I don’t think Colorado has any sort of colloquialisms. We’re boring.

  3. Uhh … I’m with Erica. I think it’s probably because many of us are from small towns, so The WalMart is the only WalMart within an hour of our house. Or at least, that’s what’s going on around here in Bastrop.

    We think it’s weird when y’all say ‘pop’ or ‘soda;’ all sweet carbonated beverages around here are called cokes. Sprites, Dr Peppers, and Cokes are all called coke.

    Y’all don’t say ‘y’all,’ and that’s not right.

    I also don’t think y’all say ‘fixin’ to,’ as in ‘I’m fixin’ to run up to The WalMart, y’all wannt go?’

    And just for fun (and for all you Yanks) there’s just a lot of good ‘Texas-isms’ … Enjoy!

    *She’s got tongue enough for ten rows of teeth. (she’s talkative)
    *It’s hotter than a fur coat in Marfa (or hotter than a stolen cow).
    *He looks like the dogs have been keepin’ him under the porch. (uuuuugly)
    *He’s scared as a sinner in a cyclone.
    *He’s got a big hole in his screen door. (He’s crazy.)
    *She’s meaner than a pit full of rattlesnakes.
    *They’re hitched but not churched. (speaking of a couple that’s living together but not married)
    *Finer than frog’s hair. (if something is just simply wonderful)
    *I’m feeling fat and sassy this noon! (having a great afternoon)
    *She’s got more airs than an Episcopalian. (she’s real prideful) (sorry to any Episcopalians!)
    *They tried to hang him, but the rope broke. (he’s lucky)

    And of course, there’s General Sherman’s well-known quote from the Civil War: “If I owned Texas and hell, I’d rent out Texas and live in the other.” (We tend to take that as a compliment, because we wouldn’t want no one anyone like Sherman living here anyway!! lolol)

    Sorry, I can get a little carried away talking about Texas … I just love her too much! 🙂


  4. Hmmm, I’m sure Canada has a lot of different colloquialisms – I just don’t pay too much attention to them I guess. People put “eh” at the end of their sentences a lot up here…that gets annoying – but my mom has convicted me of doing it. 🙂

  5. This cracks my ars! Erica, my husband makes fun of you Canadians eh! He thinks its funny, I want to kick him in a place where the sun wouldnt shine even on a hot day!

    Brea, I LOVE IT!!! I want to be from Texas so I can use some of those!

    Heidi, my friend, adding “the” and an “s” in front of or on the end of words drives me up the wall! Hub loved to say “Cub’s” when we still lived up there. I would always ask, “did you go to more than one?”. And I have a friend in CA that adds “the” in front of hwys/interstates. Maybe we are too simple here in MN. We make it as short and sweet as possible!

    Im coming up to MOA on Saturday. We are prom dress shopping for a friends twins. OY!

    Fun 2 hour car ride with teen agers and their chatty mom! hehehe!

  6. Ahh, regional speech! In Pittsburgh (PA), people used the term “yuns,” which is supposed to mean “you ones.” Clearly grammar is not a high priority. They also pronounce the name of a grocery chain there called Giant Eagle as “John iggle.”

    But here in Texas, WE treat the English language with great reverence… y’all.

  7. Ha! People are passionate about where they live and the kind of speak they like. I knew I’d get some backlash from the Texans (who are STILL trying to secede from the U.S., by the way–ha!). Brea, your list was fun.

    Lori! At the MOA! Bummer that we’re busy on Saturday or I’d try and meet ya in person…how long will you be there?

  8. No backlash from this Texan, because I’ve rarely heard it in the 26 years I’ve been here and I live in a town that only has 2,000 people. In fact, most would giggle at that reference. I have heard it from a few newish-transplants from Mexico.

    Now, what shocked me two weeks ago was hearing a speech therapist say, “Let’s go work and your parents can go with.” I need to find out where she grew up.

    I grew up in Southern IN, so I’m a mixture of everything. 😛

  9. Caughtchya! Talkin’ ’bout this new California lingo stuff… my aunt and uncle from Bemidji were out last week along with my parents! My uncle enjoyed calling the interstate “the 10” instead of I-10 to get in the California groove. I suspect “the” came along because of the uncertainty of whether it’s an interstate or highway or county road or by-pass or heart surgery… you just never know.

    Love you, deary! Have a marvelous evening!

  10. Marilyn, welcome. Ending a sentence in a preposition is VERY MUCH a Minnesota thing. I would not be surprised if she is from here.

    Ingrid!!! This made my stinking day that you finally commented. You simply MUST make it a regular occurrence if you are to maintain your parenthetical status. 🙂

  11. I didn’t know people did the “the” thing until I had a roommate from California who definitely referred to roads in this way. I could never figure it out, and then I actually went to CA….all the people said it! Sounds strange to me – “the 10” for a road? It’s like the road is a person or something. I’ll just stick with “10” or “highway 10” or something like that.

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