(The) Coronavirus

Which would you usually say?


  • Total voters
    12

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Do you use the definite article before "Coronavirus" or not? I've seen and done both myself but I wonder if there's a dominant tendency.
 

Terry S.

Quaestor
Staff member
I would use the definite article, because I am referring in a colloquial way to the specific coronavirus that is topical.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I would use the definite article, because I am referring in a colloquial way to the specific coronavirus that is topical.
That makes sense; thanks for sharing your view of it.

It would seem that some people (I don't currently know whether they're a minority) look at it as more of a general concept, like, say, "cancer". This makes a little less sense to me because "Coronavirus" has "virus" in it and a virus needs an article — it's either a virus or the specific virus under discussion, but not just virus. It could be, though, that the compound "Coronavirus" is, for some reason, viewed differently by some — more as the name of a disease than as a virus that's actually being denoted by some word + the word "virus", I guess.
 
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Bitmap

Civis Illustris
I suppose it depends on the degree to which the word is perceived as a proper name. Few people would probably say "the SARS-CoV-2" whereas I usually hear or read people say "the coronavirus" or "the Wuhan virus".
Actually, calling it "the coronavirus" is misleading, too, because there is not just one kind of coronavirus, and this one is by far not the first one.
 

Issacus Divus

H₃rḗǵs h₁n̥dʰéri diwsú
I don't say "Coronavirus has spread quickly." Sounds a little weird. But I do say "Corona has spread quickly."
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Also: "coronavirus" usually isn't capitalised.
 

Laurentius

Civis Illustris
I think it makes more sense to use the article because you'd usually say "the virus has spread quickly".
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
People also confuse the virus with the disease.

SARS-CoV-2 is the virus.
COVID-19 is the disease.
 
Although is covid an acronym anyway? It's certainly not an abbreviation as each individual letter in covid does not represent a word.

I shall the put the lid back on the worm tin.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
COVID-19 = COronaVIrus Disease from 2019
SARS-CoV-2 = Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome COronaVirus 2nd edition
 
That makes sense; thanks for sharing your view of it.

It would seem that some people (I don't currently know whether they're a minority) look at it as more of a general concept, like, say, "cancer".
Again that's interchangable for me too. If used in a general sense it's 'cancer is spreading' if I use it more specifically I might say 'the cancer is spreading'.
 

Etaoin Shrdlu

μεσσηγυδορποχέστης
It's certainly not an abbreviation as each individual letter in covid does not represent a word.
An abbreviation is any shortened form of a word. There is no necessity for individual letters to represent words.

All acronyms are abbreviations, but not all abbreviations are acronyms.
 
An abbreviation is any shortened form of a word. There is no necessity for individual letters to represent words.

All acronyms are abbreviations, but not all abbreviations are acronyms.
I thought an abbreviation used the first letter of each word but does not require to be sounded as a word.

Ok, it's time to have a look online at this.

Edit: I had it arse to front.
 
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