Thursday, March 12, 2009

Is it 101 and 5 or the 101 and the 5?

I have been called out for referring to highway 101 as the 101. One of our radio listeners on kgoe calls every time I put the in front of 101 or 5. Many of us from Southern California add the to highway names because that's the way they are referenced during traffic reports on L.A. radio. From what I understand it is not necessary to put the in front of the highway number it's just something some of us do. It is also not necessary to add the when saying that someone went to hospital. In England they never ad the there. We, on the other hand, always ad the to hospital as in "I'm going to the hospital".
It seems like a silly thing for one of our listeners to get so wrapped up in, but if this person has such a problem with it, it is likely others are annoyed when they hear the 5 or the 36. My first inclination was to tell the listener to "go play on freeway", but it is not nice to ridicule your customers, so I wrote this blog instead.
How do you refer to our highways, hospitals etc.?


Unknown said...

In Southern Cal 'the' is the common and nonirritating prefix for a highway.
In Northern Cal 'the' is the uncommon, definitely irritating, prefix for a numbered highway.
It is a verbal indicator that one is not from here.

If you want to be considered local I would go with the local usage of highway identification... no 'the'.

Unknown said...

oh look! This is indeed a hot topic.

"While reading Marcy Burstiner's "Subscribe 'til It Hurts," I noticed what I consider an error in the article ("Media Maven," March 5). She used the phrase/term "The 101" -- referring, of course, to our north-south highway."

Tom Sebourn said...

Sometimes in radio, it's all about the syllables, the fewer you can use to get the same message across, the better. We like to say triple w dot bla bla dot com instead of www. www. is 10 syllables while the later is only 6.
Highway 101 is 5 syllables and the 101 is only 4. It may be incorrect but in advertising, every second is money.

Unknown said...

So Tom,which is it for you now?
'the one oh one' a phrase not from or of here.
101..... plain simple and Humboldtian.

Tom Sebourn said...

I had the chance to make a reference to it Friday, I think it was in my news. I said highway 101 instead of the 101. It felt as good as the difference between driving the (I mean) highway 101 just north of L.A. to driving 101 between Trinidad and Eureka. It will take a little getting used to, but I think I could get used to it.

Greg Sebourn said...

I think you should use the proper Caltrans name, United States Highway One-Zero-One" also shown as US101. How far do you want to take it? US101, Highway 101, US Highway 101??? "The One-Oh-One" cuts to the chase... AND everubody knows what you are talking about. Often the media refers to places like Contra Costa as Kon-trah Kos-tah when it should be saif with the long O and a roll of the tongue. Is it San Hozay or San Jose??? is it Usama bin-Laden or Osama Bin Laden???