Should the article “the” be used twice with a proper noun starting with “the”?

If a proper noun includes the word “the” and we want to refer to it using the definite article, should “the” appear twice in succession? For example:

“Can you pass me The Who CD?” vs. “can you pass me the The Who CD?”

“The US Government passed The Hague Act” vs. “The US Government passed the The Hague Act?”.
(this example inspired by a comment to this answer).

To me the first versions seem incorrect, but the second versions sound very awkward.


I provided a long answer to the question "Capitalisation in texts where the title is also a concept that is referred to within the text?" a while ago.

Part of my answer to that question is directly relevant to this one.

In the following quotation, The Boss is a nickname commonly used for the singer Bruce Springsteen.

Sometimes what sounds natural can supersede what is technically correct from a syntactical point of view.

For example:

✔ Those are the Gucci shoes I was talking about.

Here, we have a proper noun acting to modify a common noun.

But while the next sentence follows the same syntactical rule, it doesn’t look right:

? That is the The Boss ticket I was talking about.

Even though the second article is not actually an article per se (it’s part of a name), it’s not possible to look at the duplication and think it’s appropriate. If something is technically correct, but is still incredibly awkward, it’s better to rephrase it.

In this case, we could omit one or the other word (knowing the meaning would be understood anyway) or we could actually restructure the sentence so it’s not awkward to start with:

✔ That is the ticket to The Boss I was talking about.
✔ That is the The Boss ticket I was talking about.
✔ That is the The Boss ticket I was talking about.

In the last two sentences, we know perfectly well which words should be capitalized—it’s just that we’re choosing to omit one or the other for the sake of comprehension. (And which we omit would be a matter of style or personal choice.)

Source : Link , Question Author : JBentley , Answer Author : Jason Bassford

Leave a Comment