This page is an archive of a community-wide discussion. This page is no longer live. Further comments should be made in the Senate Hall or new Consensus Track pages rather than here so that this page is preserved as an historic record. The result of the debate was use ship names with the definite article. - Sikon [Talk] 06:03, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
From the Manual of Style:
Names of specific spaceships should be:
Used without the definite article
"Thunderflare operated in the Core region."
NOT "The Thunderflare operated in the Core region."
Preceded by the appropriate Ship prefix. If the prefix is unknown, do not create one.
So... Han Solo was the captain of Millennium Falcon? Say that out loud, see if it sounds right.
Does this seem just flat-out incorrect to anyone else? Outside of this wiki, I can't think of a single instance where "the" did not appear before the name of a ship, be it the Executor, the Invisible Hand, the New Hope, or the Havoc. With the exception of the Slave series, now that I think about it, it seems to me that the omission of the definite article before ship names isn't such a hard rule and should be decided on a ship-to-ship basis.
I move to have "Used without the difinite article" stricken from the Manual of Style. -- SM-716...talk? 21:18, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Support. Like you, I can't think of a single canonical instance beyond Fett's ships where the definite article wasn't used. jSarek 21:39, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
This is how it's done in canonical sources. - Sikon [Talk] 00:24, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Yup, support. It's a silly convention to omit "the" for the sake of omitting "the". The source material from which we are working should be our guide, not some all-or-nothing rule. If the source says "Bob and Boba jumped into the Blah, use that. If the source material says "Boba got into Blah", use that. — SavageBob 13:18, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
We're supposed to write articles about ships, excepting BtS, from an in-universe perspective. In-universe, ship names are usually preceded by "the". Red XIV 08:22, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
Complete Support I just cant stand ship names without the "the" Darth Kevinmhk 02:34, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Support. I'm all for grammatical correctness, but both source material and common sense support inclusion. RMF 03:58, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
Support, they don't seem to use it in-universe. Keep omitting "the" where it's omitted in an in-universe source, though, I suppose. —Silly Dan(talk) 00:50, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Support, this was an ill conceived policy to begin with DarthLumiya 13:35, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Support. I suppose I should make it an official vote. -- SM-716 02:03, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Support: It should be based on established canon usage and what sounds right to the ear: "the Millennium Falcon" but "aboard Slave One", to take the examples already used. And some ship-names contain the definite article as part of their name - The Chariot (a VSD in Minos Cluster) --McEwok 13:40, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
Support: Makes sense to me! -User:Scorch 07:45, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
Oppose. particularly famous ships, such as the Millennium Falcon are appropriate cases for the use of the article. It is neater and using "the" is a crutch for writing in a casual style. --SparqMan 22:37, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Oppose removing the rule entirely, but perhaps it could be amended. Darth Culator 22:53, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
That's exactly what I said. Bearing in mind that canon probably doesn't match real-world practice, can anyone quote a real-world manual of style which explains what the procedure is supposed to be? —Silly Dan(talk) 21:49, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Responding to myself: Wikipedia:Ship prefix says "Note that while calling a US ship "the USS Flattop" may make grammatical sense, the preliminary article "the" is deprecated by nearly all style guides. Its British equivalent ("the HMS Flattop") is also deprecated, since "the Her Majesty's Ship" would be grammatically incorrect." Since (the) Millennium Falcon doesn't have a ship prefix, and HIMS is a fanonical prefix, that rule doesn't apply. —Silly Dan(talk) 22:00, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, the reason that characters use "the" could just be because they're having a casual conversation. I mean, have we ever heard an Imperial Navy officer say a ship name in a formal conversation? Fleet Admiral J. Nebulax(Imperial Holovision) 22:05, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
The ship prefix rule seems to suggest that using "the" is acceptable when no prefix is present-- i.e. "The Executor was Vader's flagship" and "HMS Executor was Vader's flagship" would both be correct (if the prefix of "HMS" were used in the GFFA-- roll with me here), while "the HMS Executor was Vader's flagship" would be an example of incorrect usage. So "the" would be used in most cases on this wiki, then? -- SM-716...talk? 22:28, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Check out the U.S. Navy style guide. Plenty of people use "the" casually, but most formal documents do not. Also, particularly famous ships, such as the Millennium Falcon are appropriate cases for the use of the article. --SparqMan 22:34, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Excluding the definite article should be the rule, but exceptions could be made for certain circumstances. Maybe it should be changed to saying it should be avoided rather than prohibiting it entirely. Darth Culator 22:53, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
That would be nice. However, thanks to SparqMan, my guess appears to be correct—"the" is used in casual conversations, but not formally or in offical documents. Fleet Admiral J. Nebulax(Imperial Holovision) 00:00, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Wookieepedia is not a formal official document. - Sikon [Talk] 00:25, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
There are also many examples of forms like "the light freighter Ebon Hawk" or "the Star Destroyer Relentless", which I think are allowed under US Navy styles. Also, ships are universally referred to as "it" rather than "she" or "her". Interesting. —Silly Dan(talk) 03:03, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Silencer-7 is as much a droid as a ship, and the Lusankya is an odd case because it's both a ship and a prison facility. But once it's revealed to be a ship, it's referred to as "the Lusankya", while the prison within the ship is referred to as "Lusankya" (no "the", no italics). As for Home One...are other Mon Calamari cruisers preceded by "the" in the Star Wars Encyclopedia? Red XIV 08:22, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
It was heavily automated and run by a droid brain. That sounds fairly droid-like to me. There were humans onboard, but the X-1 Vipers also have human crews and they're certainly droids. Red XIV 03:09, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
p. 197: "the Mon Remonda", p. 178: "the Liberty". So it appears that "the" is used for Mon Cal ships other than Home One too, at least in the SWENC. —Silly Dan(talk) 03:21, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
No one is arguing that most in-universe mentions of ships include the article. Authors can take those liberties within their creative style. I'm also sure you would also find that 90% of naval personnel use the article before a ship name, but that doesn't make it stylistically correct. Star Wars uthors also use run-on sentences, misused semicolons and other stylistic no-nos that shouldn't alter the level of our own writing here. --SparqMan 04:11, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
That's just it: We determine what is and is not a sylistic no-no. Wookieepedia is run by its editors, after all. So, we get to decide if we want to go with the style used by .5% of people in the real world, or 95.5%. I vote for the 95.5%. (Of course my numbers are made up, but I'm using hyperbole.) — SavageBob 12:51, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
In that case, we should roll out a new style guide that permits other choice grammar options executed by 95.5% of the population: ending sentences with prepositions, using double negatives and split infinitives, and so on. We make our own style guide, but our style guide is not just a reflection of colloquial English. In the same way that we should avoid conjunctions in our writing, we should avoid using the article "the" before ship names. --SparqMan 14:29, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
Call me a colloquialist, then. I find requiring "the" to be elitist and overly fanboyish. But so is a lot of Wookieepedia, so there you have it. — SavageBob 15:03, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
You mean requiring the omission of the, right SavageBob? 8) More to the point: our recent decision to capitalize Human is a precedent for breaking the rules of real-world grammar on this wiki. (I should also point out that not all style guides require the to be omitted: the Canadian Press would say "the USS Enterprise", but not "the HMCS Athapaskan", because they go by the grammatical rules you'd use if the prefixes were written out in full.) It also sets a precedent for picking a standard which makes more sense in-universe when canonical sources differ, even if our choice conflicts with the style of most canonical sources: but since we have so few canonical ship prefixes, and ship prefixes seem to be the main reason for this rule in real life, I don't think omitting "the" is necessary. —Silly Dan(talk) 00:45, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Whoops! Yes, I meant requiring the omission of "the". Thanks for the catch. :) — SavageBob 02:09, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Ship prefixes are not the main reason for omitting "the". A ship prefix is used with the first mention, and then never again, yet the use of "the" remains avoided. Either way, if we want this to be a serious decision, let's move it over to the consensus track to get everyone involved. --SparqMan 17:30, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
LOL, didn't even notice the move. =D My major problem with using "the" is not that it violates style guides, but that it is grammatically incorrect, as ships are noncountable nouns. You wouldn't say "the Darth Vader", but you would say "the Imperial Executor". You wouldn't say "the Luke's lightsaber", but you would say "Luke's lightsaber." Placing "the" before the name of a named ship is grammatically incorrect, no matter how right it may sound (and it generally sounds right because most SW ships names sound like titles, like Stalker or Devastator) --SparqMan 18:30, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
The Sudan, the Thames, the..? - Sikon [Talk] 18:57, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
There are exceptions for geographic uses, mainly boiling down to being used in unique geographic features but not those that are collections (the Russian Federation, the Sahara Desert, the Rocky Mountains, the Atlantic Ocean). Here is a good source on article use: "The Use and Non-Use of Articles".
We're just arguing that ship names are one of those exceptions. :) It's not just Star Wars ships that do this, either. It seems to be common for any type of named vehicle: The Titanic, the Poseidon, the Hindenburg, the General Lee, the Enola Gay; butBigfoot, Air Force One, KITT . . . :) — SavageBob 19:47, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Right, and that's my point: we do it naturally when it sounds flash ("the Bigfoot" seems downright silly), but avoiding the use of "the" always works, while using it does not. Why not err on the side of grammatical accuracy and a solution that works at every instance? --SparqMan 00:52, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Avoiding "the" does not always work, actually (see Millennium Falcon). Also, I think you mean ships are countable nouns (which would mean that there would be no definitive article)... except that their names are proper nouns, so grammatical rules pertaining to improper nouns don't necessarily apply. There are plenty of proper nouns where "the" is used: the Green Hornet, the Mediterranean, the Holy Grail, the Holocaust, and so on. The only hard rules on the subject come from the out-of-universe Naval style guides previously cited. Ultimately, this site is meant to be a reflection of official Lucasfilm material, regardless of real-world inaccuracies. (Just how long is Home One?) So if the Doomgiver is referred to as "the Doomgiver" from Jedi Outcast's start to its finish, our articles should read accordingly. -- SM-716...talk? 02:03, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
It works with the exceptions mentioned aboved. And specific ships are not countable: there is only one Devastator, but there are many ISDs. If we're going to make this change to accurately reflect official Lucasfilm material in content and style, we must apply that to all entries here, which means reverting a lot of other decisions, conjecture and extrapolations about information not explicitly mentioned. --SparqMan 02:24, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
I think you may have misunderstood that article you posted. A specific ship is countable-- there's one Devastator; I just counted them. Non-countable refers to substances, like water and sand (if you pour more sand into a sandbox, you wouldn't say that that sandbox "has two sands in it"). But that's actually irrelevant, since it only applies to improper nouns. Don't confuse grammatical rules with those of a style guide used by a particular group; there is no rule in the English language stating whether the definitive article should be used before a vessel name.
So we have two sources to determine whether to call Princess Leia's ship theTantive IV. One is the U.S. Navy Style Guide; the other is the Star Wars radio drama. Which is canon? -- SM-716...talk? 04:11, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
I was taught that unique items are counted as uncountable because there can never be more than one, which is the basis for no using the article with proper nouns. The origin aside, is there not a rule in the English language which states that (excluding some geographic exceptions) the only time the definitive article is used with a proper noun is when it has a prepositional phrase in it, such as "the United States of America"? If not, then I concede the point, but I'm fairly certain the rule exists.
I'm a stringent supporter of following a canon-leaning policy, but if we base this style decision on the grounds of canon, we have to move Carrack-class light cruiser back to Carrack-class Light Cruiser, and reverse other style decisions we have made. As an aside, major military books like Jane's Fighting Ships and also do not use the definitive article. --SparqMan 08:18, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Actually, Carrack-class light cruiser does follow canon - it's not capitalized in the Imperial Sourcebook, The Truce at Bakura Sourcebook, or the Star Wars Encyclopedia. As I recall, we actually had a discussion about capitalizing, and changed our existing articles to follow canon and lower-case those identifiers. Anyway, as was mentioned, there are plenty of proper nouns that take the definite article athat don't also take prepositions, from geographical locations (the Hague, the Sudan), to buildings (the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center), to organizations (the United Nations, the United Way, the Sierra Club), to nicknames (the Duke, the Red Baron, the Desert Fox), to concepts (the Iron Curtain). jSarek 09:57, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
According to The American Heritage Dictionary, "the" should be "Used before a proper name, as of a monument or ship: the Alamo; the Titanic." and "to indicate uniqueness." --Xwing328(Talk) 20:29, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure if this applies to the discussion, but in this Holonet news report, it doesn't put a "the" in front of Scarlet Thranta's name. In other words, it simply uses "Scarlet Thranta", not "The Scarlet Thranta". If Holonet news is a canon source, and it doesn't use "the" in front of a ship's name, then that might be evidence that ship names are not suppose to have "the" in front of them. 126.96.36.199 07:12, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
However, anyone can flood this board with a very large number of canonical sources which has the "the". I don't think "without a the" appears more than "with a the" - if numbers could define the matter, that is. Darth Kevinmhk 14:19, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
I take it that no one has taken Betrayal into consideration. Notice that when a ship is named, "the" does not come before it. This could suggest that as of 40 ABY, a new in-universe style of saying the names of ships excludes the use of "the" before a ship's name. Therefore, based on this, I suggest we keep it as is, regardless of the results of this vote. Fleet Admiral J. Nebulax(Imperial Holovision) 13:59, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
No, Legacy Comic (130 ABY) has the "The" again (Legacy #0 used THE Mynock and THE Grinning Liar), so Betrayal doesnt stand. Darth Kevinmhk 03:39, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
I think we now have plenty of evidence that there isn't a consistent system. Authors use either style they choose, so we should probably follow that lead and leave it open to our editors whether to use the definite article. jSarek 20:52, 17 June 2006 (UTC)
But that can lead to edit war. Darth Kevinmhk 04:21, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Can we close the discussion? I think the case is clear. - Sikon [Talk] 08:27, 18 June 2006 (UTC)