Sunday, August 14, 2011

Do You Know THE Way?


Conversation overhead in restaurant in northern California:

Father: "Do you hear what you are saying? When did you start talking like this?"

Daughter: (shrugging and smiling) "It just happens."

Father: "It happened to your sisters too. I mean what’s the deal?"

The father looked over at me, aware I was eavesdropping.

Father: (to me) "Do you hear what she's saying? 'Are you are going to drive on THE 5? What do you mean by THE 101? Take THE 405?' What’s that all about?"

I smiled and nodded. I knew exactly what he was talking about.

He continued: "I raised three daughters in northern California and all three went to school in southern California. As soon as they got there, they started putting 'the' in front of all the roads.

I was smiling because I had just been in Colorado having a similar conversation with some of my family members who claimed that it was strange to hear the way I described the route to and from places. “Should I take the 70?”

Apparently, people in other areas don’t put “the” in front of the name of the highways/roads.

Or do they?

Speak to me. Tell me about it.


57 comments:

Laura Eno said...

I'm interested too. I was born and raised in SoCal so I always say THE before the freeway number.

Leah J. Utas said...

Up here we just plunge in with the Hwy No. Unless the Highway has a proper name also. I live along Highway 11, but it is also known as The David Thompson Highway.
I'd take The David Thompson or I'd take Hwy. 11.

Joan said...

Here is Oklahoma we take 44, 40, or 35. But if it's a turnpike, we use "the". I like how different areas use unique descriptors.

Ann said...

Here in northwestern Pennsylvania we take 90 or 79. Of course if you're in the mood for a more rural drive you can take 6, 18 or 20.

jenny_o said...

In my part of Canada (east coast) we take "the (number)" also.

Hey, it's easier than saying "highway (number)", right? Think of how many minutes - even hours - a person would save in a lifetime :)

j said...

... and from the comments that appeared while I was making mine, I see the third option is just "number" which would save even more time, haha

Marg said...

Down here in the South, we just take Hwy 26 to Hwy 85. Never heard of THE 26. But guess it just as good. it is a THE after all. Have yourself a super Sunday.

jenny_o said...

j is me, jenny_o, above :)

one of the disadvantages of using the Name/URL identity - if you slip up entering your name, all of a sudden you're someone else

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Sorry I don't know the correct way as the UK has our own road language,

Yvonne.

Old Kitty said...

Erm... I don't drive so haven't a clue!!! LOL!!

Have a great Sunday BB!!! Take care
x

Peggy K said...

If I use a number, it's just the number. If I use the name as it is locally known, I use "the" first.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We don't use 'the' here in the south.

Donna said...

No, we just say I-35 or I-10, etc...
Have a good Sunday Betty!
hughugs

Teresa Evangeline said...

Here, we have #1 and #2. No, seriously. As in, "Are you taking #2?"

Then there's 371. No #, nothing else, just 371. As in, three seventy-one.

Now, many of the country roads are streets. I live on 32nd St. S.W. even though I live a few miles from any town. It's absurd. I clearly live on the Old River Road.

Now, I've done too much thinking. More coffee is needed.

Gigi said...

We just say the road/hwy number here. We did the same in Texas.

Chuck said...

I think it is a total Cali thing. People I know from there and are now in Dallas say THE 30 or THE 35E. It sounds odd since the only road THE works for is The Tollway!

Mamma has spoken said...

Nope we don't do that in Northern Kentucky. Can't speak for the rest of the state since if you are from Northern Kentucky you say your are from Northern Kentucky where as the rest of the state will say they are from Kentucky. Oh and they don't do it in the Greater Cincinnati area. Yes, those of us in Northern Kentucky associate ourselves more with the Greater Cincinnati area then with the rest of the state.

Linda said...

We Hoosiers are practical and straightforward. We preface the highway number with the type of highway it is. For example, "I-65" for Interstate 65; Indiana 37 (or, alternately, State Road 37;, U.S. 24; County Road 35; etc. Never "the," though.

Larri @ Seams Inspired said...

I'm small town...we just say, "Are we driving on the highway to get there?" ☺ That means the interstate (I-385 or I-85). Most of our highways are so small, they have other names. 25 is Augusta Road, 295 is Pleasantburg Drive, 29 is Wade Hampton Blvd. It's confusing to non-Southernors. LOL Happy Sunday! ☺

Eva Gallant said...

In Maine, we just say, "You cain't git there from hyah."

Hilary said...

I grew up in Montreal, Quebec and now live in southern Ontario. Everyone knows the way to get between the two is to take the 401.

If your traveling the Trans Canada Highway, you might want to refer to it as the Tea Can. We have the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way) and The Gardener. Though come to think of it, some of the smaller highways, with less than 2 digits seems to realease the need for using "the." Language is a strange and wonderful thing.

Susan in the Boonies said...

No, they don't.

My girlfriend, raised in SoCal, moved to the South from Northern California, and in her first few months here, was trying to learn how to navigate around these parts. She totally cracked me up when she asked if she should take "the 40" to get someplace.

"Well, you could. But I wouldn't tell anyone else that's what you'd done. Because they'll cock their heads to the side like a dog trying to understand what his master is saying," I responded.

She has, since then, adapted nicely to our ways. Heard her say: "Get on 40," just the other day, I did.

And now, I'm talking like Yoda.

Shrinky said...

Oh, we Celt's all for adding as much as we can in-between the bare necessities of the actual dialogue, it's genetic, so's it is!

ellen abbott said...

'Take the West Loop', 'go south on 45'. I do both it seems depending on if I'm talking about one of the loops around the city or one of the highways through. all the loops get 'the' in front of them but not the highways which are just numbers.

faye said...

Had to stop and think about this...
mostly we just say the number..
gotta remember this backwoods world and
usually someone will give you a landmark
to use as a guide rather than a number.

From your title I thought you meant
the Dionne Warwick oldie..
'do you know the way to san jose' ..
so now that is in my head... thank you very much !!

SUGAR MOON said...

As far as I know in Texas we just use the #. Example--I take 20 to Fort Worth and when I get there I go in on 30.

Brian said...

Down here in the South they don't use the word "the", but they do substitute "Number". Instead of Highway 9 it's "take Number 9". Have a great Sunday!!!

ds said...

We mostly "plunge right into the number" as someone else has said. But sometimes, we'll say "route" as in "Take Route 95 (aka The Turnpike)". Of course, most people think in terms of exit numbers. They're the out-of-staters ;)

Happy Sunday!

blueviolet said...

It sounded normal to me until I got to the end when you mentioned "the". That's when I realized that I do not put that in front of my highway numbers.

Facing50.Blog said...

It's all 'the' over here...mind you our roads are so full of potholes that it is more 'eh?' than 'the' as you fall down them?

Jenny said...

I totally do! Cute post!

Annie said...

In New Jersey its "The Parkway","the"turnpike but when it comes to numbered roads, its just "287" or "1"

Retired English Teacher said...

I don't think I put "the" in front of a highway, nor do any of my family members. I take "25" or I25 when I go to Denver or "the Springs." I take 50 to go see my mom and wouldn't think of getting in all that traffic on 70.

Laura said...

Ya got me thinking...
We usually take 94, or 69, or 75 so nothing in front of the number unless we occasionally will say I-94 etc.
I think that's normal here in Michigan. Of maybe I'm not normal?!

BECKY said...

I'm with "Linda" above...I'm in Missouri and I've never heard of "the" before the highway. We say, I-55, I-70, but if it has a name..., then it's The Innerbelt.

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

It's like soda and pop -- same thing, different name. We all know what you mean. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

No 'the' in front of road numbers here in PA. It would really sound odd to hear that.

Shelly said...

We don't put "the" in front of highway numbers down here, but we do put "fixin' " in front of "to" often, as in I'm fixin' to take I35.

I'm enjoying your blog!

floweringmama said...

Hmmm, not something I hear around here, but I believe it probably depends on where you live.

EmptyNester said...

Never heard of such a thing! I wouldn't have known what he was talking about.

Marlene said...

Back home, we always referred to "the big one" as "the 401". So, yes, it happens in southern Ontario, too.

Pssst....I am linking to your fair blog post tomorrow in my post. Is that okay? Please tell me it's okay...heehee. And in answer to your question, you can hang out whenever you want to. I'm not kicking you out. Ever. :)

Ms. A said...

Just the number here. We only use "the" before beltway or toll road... at least to my knowledge.

karen said...

Well, being from So Cal, I do call each freeway "the 5" or "the 405." I mean, that's what it's called, isn't it? I remember years ago (when there weren't so many freaking people here) we would call them "the Santa Ana freeway" or "the San Diego freeway." But they've all grown and expanded and our world is bigger and much more crowded these days.
Thanks for your comments on my blog. I'm looking forward to more bossiness from you!

inkpuddle said...

In Georgia, it's just the number, with maybe an I before it to designate the interstate. "Take 85 South, exit to 285 West, and get on 400 North." Even Freedom Parkway is just Freedom Parkway, no "the."

My last boss was from NY and did add "the" in front of every interstate though. Fun read.

Daisy said...

HA! No "the" here. We just say the number or maybe put "route" in front of it. :D

Slamdunk said...

Ha, I have heard that from Cali folks, but don't hear it in the NE.

I remember having to adjust to people saying Interstate versus freeway when I first moved from the plains.

Unknown Mami said...

Of course I put "the" in front of the freeway. I didn't know there was another option.

LittleSilkDress said...

haha I can just imagine how people looked at you when you said "the 70." Out here it is I-70 or just 70. Love this.

Lin said...

I put "the" in front of all kinds of things now. I think it is an age thing for some reason. My kids get really annoyed when I call it "The Walmart". Hee! Hee!

Sush said...

For me it's a mixed bag...we take 'The Beltline' but drive on 40 or 70 or 440. When I'm in New Orleans we take I-10...I speak Higways in many languages!

Hugs~

Miriam in KS said...

I admire your eavesdropping skills. Being able to hear around corners or what the folks 3 tables back are saying is a fine trait to possess! AND it provides great entertainment and blog topic fodder!

Zuzana said...

English is not my native language and not living in a country where it is spoken, I could not tell you.;) But I guess in every language the youngsters adapt new trends, here in Denmark they make English words into Danish. Now that is cause for a certain degree of frustration indeed.;)
Have a lovely Monday,
xoxo

SueAnn said...

Too funny! Nope! I don't put "the" in front of I-40. Just say, Take I-40!!
Hugs
SueAnn

GreatGranny said...

I'm in the South and as far as I know, we just say 'the exit'going to ....wherever.

Baby Sister said...

As far as I can think I don't use "the". Just I-15, etc. I had never even thought about till I read this. :)

Pat Tillett said...

I think it sounds weird when the "the" isn't used in front of the highway name. I also hate it when people in the medical profession don't use the "the" in front of the word "doctor." As in, "Doctor will see you now!" That just sounds odd. "The Doctor will see you now!"
Come on people...

Sara said...

Tee hee :) I'm just now getting back to throwing "highway" in front of the numbers, whew. My parents might not disown me after all!