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The Assault on The Word “The”

Updated: May 23, 2020

Correct me if I am wrong, but I do not believe I rant or have ranted in my blog posts, to date. That may change or be slowly changing, as I find more things to write about and expose some of my personal passions. For being someone most consider an extrovert, I really do try my best to be as PC as possible with my public persona. I will discuss that more as I continue to open up, in future blogs. No need to scare you all yet. But today is a day to rant. And, I mean in the Andy Rooney, curmudgeon sense of the word.

So here goes nothing. I want to rant about the Assault on the Word THE! It is a total pet peeve of mine, which may seem crazy to you. I understand. That is what makes it a pet peeve. In fact, I do not care for the term “pet peeve,” either. Makes me think of pet pee and having been raised in a boarding kennel, not a fan. But nothing gets in my “grammatical claw” like the reckless abandonment of the word THE. Just like you might have a distaste for the dramatic flair or inflection in my mediocre writing style or my completely herkie-jerky ADHD way of writing. And that is okay too. But please allow me to explain or campaign, to bring THE’s sexy back.

A let me be clear. I am by no means a master of the English language. A B minus English Student for sure, but I think something sinister is going on here. Ready for it. “Are you going to watch THE Superbowl?” “Do you think she has THE Flu?” “I had to go to THE hospital.” The last 3 sentences are what I want to hear in those cases. Instead, I am hearing what I think was invented by a 47-year-old retired Valley Girl. “Does she have Flu?” “Superbowl is cancelled this year.” “Take her to hospital.” Say it with the Valley Girl inflection and you will hear what I hear. I just think the importance is lost when you drop the THE.

Is this crazy? Am I losing it? Is THE being taken away from our vernacular? Is it no big deal? Or not THE BIG DEAL I think it is? My wife has a thing about hearing any kind of chewing. Or Misophonia? It is got its own term. Proposed in 2000 and documented as a condition in which “negative emotions, thoughts and physical reactions” are triggered by specific sounds, such as me existing at the dinner table. I kind of get that one too, but I need a much more specific situation or level of grossness.

I recently discovered a Grammarphobia Blog and thought that they might have some kindred spirits there. Perhaps they would know the name for my affliction. The need to hear the word “THE” affliction. In the end, I chickened out contacting them. My fear of the Grammar Police, routing thru my blogs for all my run-on sentences, sentence fragments or worse…. the find a dangling participle! I honestly do not remember what a participle is but sounds like it might be a good ice cream.

So being the dogged, yet frustrated, researcher I am, I thought I would ask you. Having found new inspiration from Dr. Lisa Sanders’ Diagnosis on Netflix, I look to you,” THE Crowd” for the answer. (Not crowd.) Let me know what you find out. Anyway, thank you for reading and indulging my rant. I promise, the more you follow my posts, the more you will discover, I have several unresolved issues. I hope we all do. Life would be so boring without them.


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