open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- The Amazing Spider-Man, or Amazing Spider-Man.
- The Avengers, or Avengers.
- Whether anyone refers to Batman as "The Batman" depends on the era of comic books, with the "the" especially ignored during the Lighter and Softer era of the 1960s.
- It's more stringently enforced for the villains. The Joker and The Penguin are never referred to as anything else in the comics, unless they're being directly addressed. For some reason, though, this convention rarely seems to apply to (The) Catwoman.
- X-Men member Beast, or The Beast.
- Incredible Hulk, or The Incredible Hulk.
- New Mutants, or The New Mutants.
- Silver Surfer, or The Silver Surfer.
- The Star Wars is a miniseries adapted from an early version of the screenplay for Star Wars. The Star Wars was a working title for the film, which also appeared in the somewhat wordier form of Adventures of the Starkiller, Episode I: The Star Wars, and The Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Starkiller.
- Uncanny X-Men: The title changed from The X-Men to X-Men to The Uncanny X-men to Uncanny X-men.
- (The) Vision.
- Wolverine: The Origin, or Wolverine: Origin.
Films — Live-Action
- Tim Robbins' film Cradle Will Rock is about the production of and controversy around a Depression-era play called The Cradle Will Rock.
- Due to a printing oversight, we get one in the middle of Attack of the The Eye Creatures.
- (The) Bad Lieutenant Port Of Call New Orleans
- In the film Body Slam about a combiation of Rock and Wrestling there's a band called "Kicks." A reviewer talking to their manager casually refers to them as "The Kicks," but the manager is quite insistent that it's just "Kicks," saying that using "The" in a band name is passe.
- Averted with the The Fast and the Furious franchise, where The Fast and the Furious is the name of the first movie, while Fast and Furious is the name of the fourth movie.
- Not averted a lot of movie localizations in France. It seems like a tacit "rule" that movie titles that are not translated lose their "the", especially if it can shorten it to a single word.
- Such as Avengers.
- The first movie (and with it, the whole franchise) is known as Fast and Furious in France.
- The same happened to The Abyss.
- Or The Matrix.
- Or The Shining.
- The Hangover somehow managed to get both this trope and Completely Different Title: French posters advertised it as Very Bad Trip (Hangover).
- Averted with Final Destination, where any confusion over whether or not it needed a "the" was cleared away (or possibly enhanced) by the title of the fourth installment, The Final Destination.
- Last Action Hero was usually called The Last Action Hero until its release sans "The."
- In the credits for The Man with the Iron Fists RZA is credited as "The RZA" for the screenplay for some reason, even though he is simply credited as "RZA" when listed as the film's star, director, and composer.
- The film Minority Report is based on a story titled The Minority Report by Philip K. Dick. A short story collection by Dick was released around the same time as the movie bearing the name Minority Report like the movie, not the original story.
- The credits to the American version of War of the Gargantuas has a The before the title which is not included when the title is displayed on advertising or home video packaging.
- Ever wonder why the on-screen title for School of Rock is The School Of Rock? It's because the filmmakers decided to change the name long after the title sequence is shot and couldn't go back and re-shoot it. Adding to the minor confusion, the In-Universe band is called The School of Rock.
- The 2005 Spielberg adaptation of The War of the Worlds dropped the "The" from the title.
- In-universe, there's a conversation in Mickey Blue Eyes about whether a restaurant is called "La Trattoria" or "The La Trattoria". Apparently it's the latter, despite being owned by Italians.
- All sequels of The Omen (1976) drop the article (Damien: Omen II and Omen III: The Final Conflict — which at times drops the "Omen" part as well).
- This can happen with foreign films when their titles are translated into English, especially when the language in question doesn't use "the". The Japanese film "砂の器" is called Castle of Sand on The Other Wiki but The Castle of Sand at The Internet Movie Database.
- The Little Shop of Horrors and Little Shop of Horrors. The latter is a musical adaptation of the former.
- The Avengers was followed by Avengers: Age of Ultron, which dropped the "The." The upcoming Avengers: Infinity War films are doing the same.
- Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope had the working title The Star Wars for the first drafts, including the May, 1973 story synopsis, May, 1974 Rough Draft, and July 1974 Revised First Draft. The January 28, 1975 second draft was titled The Adventures of the Starkiller (episode one) "The Star Wars", or, Adventures of the Starkiller (episode one) "The Star Wars", or, The Star Wars - Episode One - "The Star Wars". The August 1, 1975 Third Draft is The Star Wars – From the Adventures of Luke Starkiller. The January 1, 1976 Fourth Draft, Star Wars: The Adventures of Luke Starkiller as taken from the “Journal of the Whills” (Saga I) Star Wars, is no longer titled The Star Wars, as well as in the January 15, 1976 Revised Fourth Draft, titled Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope, from the Journal of the Whills.
- Wild Wild West. The TV series on which it was based was THE Wild Wild West - but then, Will Smith is the lead here, and it's easier to rap three syllables than four.
- Despite commonly being abbreviated "LotR", J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy epic is called The Lord of the Rings. (Proper initialism conventions call for the leaving out of articles and prepositions [hence why the Federal Bureau of Investigation is the FBI and not the FBoI], so it should be abbreviated "LR.")
- Also happens in-story: when Radagast talks about a land he's heard of called Shire, Gandalf tells him it's The Shire.
- The third series of Warrior Cats is called Power of Three. Officially, there is no "the"; however, fans usually add the "the", giving this story arc the Fan Nickname "Teapot" (The Power of Three = TPoT = Teapot.)
- One entry in Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series is a short story called The Borders of Infinity. It and several other short stories in the same series were later collected in an anthology called just Borders of Infinity.
- Sherlock Holmes novel The Sign of the Four was originally serialized under that title. When it was later published in book form, it was titled The Sign of Four, omitting the second "the". To this day, different publishers will use different titles.
- (The) Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - originally with no "the" but often printed with one.
- A bit of an odd one: Ben Elton insists on referring to a popular show as "The Black Adder." Actually, that's only the title of the first season — i.e., the only season that Ben Elton didn't write for; none of his seasons or one-off episodes have a definite article at the beginning.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer has this with The Gnarl, who corrects the main characters by saying his name is actually just Gnarl.
- Meta-example: Stephen Colbert refers to USA Today as "the The USA Today".
- Doctor Who: There are numerous examples from across This Very Wiki of episodes that don't start with "The", and episodes that do, being subjected to this trope. Frequent victims include:
- In-Universe example: In the Firefly episode Bushwhacked, an Alliance officer asks Inara how long she's been on "the Serenity", prompting her to correct him that it's "just Serenity". Which is correct for all ships. See the Real Life section below.
- It uses a different article, but the TV series Game of Thrones draws its title from the book A Game of Thrones.
- Guiding Light: Known before 1975 as The Guiding Light.
- Happy Days: Arthur Fonzerelli, aka "Fonzie" or "The Fonz."
- The Hollywood Squares used "The" in its title for the original 1966-1980 run. Subsequent revivals (1986-89 and 1998-2004) did not.
- On Jeopardy!, falling victim to this (adding an initial "the" to a title that doesn't have one or dropping it from one that does) generally doesn't make a response wrong unless it changes the title to refer to something else(e.g., Invisible Man vs. The Invisible Man).
- Match Game is the game show from The '70s that had orange shag carpet, host Gene Rayburn, recurring panelists Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers, and funny questions about Dumb Dora and boobs. The Match Game is its somewhat more staid predecessor from The '60s, with tamer fill-in-the-blank questions, but still hosted by Gene Rayburn. Similarly, the two-short lived revivals in 1990-91 and 1998-99 did not use "The" in the title.
- Weakest Link. It was The Weakest Link in the very early days, but that didn't last long.
- The X-Files, or the Fan Nickname, X-Files.
- In general, the rule of thumb seems to be if a band's name is (the) (noun) you always say "the" (i.e The Beatles, The Cure) whereas if the name is (the) (adjective) (noun) (i.e Spice Girls), then "the" is either never used or is optional.
- Pete Wentz's new band Black Cards are often called "The Black Cards".
- Eagles and Carpenters both commonly get a "the" slapped in front of their names. Ditto Faces.
- (The) Magnetic Fields
- The Offspring released their second album under the name "Offspring".
- (The) Pet Shop Boys typically do not use "the", but where it makes more grammatical sense, it can pop up, even in their own words (from a recording of the Nightlife Tour webcast: "good evening, Atlanta! We're the Pet Shop Boys! This song is called Being boring."). Always "the" with a lowercase "t", though.
- (The) Pixies
- Conversely, it was definitely The Pink Floyd, at least until Syd Barrett got kicked out. Also, their breakthrough album is named The Dark Side of the Moon, despite often being referred to without the article.
- (The) Strawbs
- (The) Smashing Pumpkins, originally (they added the "The" later on). There also may be confusion over whether their name is meant to be a verb or an adjective and a noun (with the adjective being the British slang word for "excellent").
- The band Talking Heads were often erroneously referred to as "The Talking Heads"; they responded by naming one of their live albums The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads. (Not helped by the fact that, in the film Stop Making Sense, one of the band members refers to them as "The Talking Heads".)
- Deliberately invoked by the band "The The".
- Leading to the following joke. A guy in a record store is asked to file all the albums in alphabetical order. He starts by filing them all under 'T': 'The Beatles', 'The Rolling Stones', etc. "No," says his boss. "Ignore the 'the'." Then he gets to 'The The'.
- Similarly, online music services tend to need to special-case The The. 'The' is usually marked as a 'stop word', a word to be ignored in search queries. If the service is lucky, somebody on the team is aware of The The and they special-case them before roll-out.
- (The) Jonas Brothers
- Averted with Barenaked Ladies. Their name is supposed to be an Intentionally Awkward Title.
- (The) Newsboys
- (The) David Crowder Band. Crowder once joked that the "The" wasn't necessary, but that he reserved the right to add it should another band also named "David Crowder Band" ever form, to assert that they were the definitive David Crowder Band.
- (The) Diablo Swing Orchestra. Their third album, Pandora's Piñata, even has "The" on the front cover—while their prior two albums didn't.
- (The) Buffalo Springfield
- (The) Electric Light Orchestra
- (The) Melvins. They played with this on the artwork for A Senile Animal, which actually does put a parenthetical "the" in front of the band name, and similarly renders the album title as "(A) Senile Animal". Their collaborative works with Jello Biafra are officially billed as Jello Biafra And The Melvins, probably just because that flows better as a name.
- (The) Eels. Although the only time a "the" has appeared before the band name in anything official was the Greatest Hits Album Meet The Eels - presumably Meet Eels would sound strange and mess with the clearly intended Shout-Out to Meet The Beatles.
- (The) Eurythmics
- (The) Pretenders - originally no "The", then gained one with the forced change of line-up for their third album, but dropped it again a couple of albums later.
- (The) Buzzcocks
- (The) Verve - Up until the release of their first album, they were officially Verve, but they had to add a "The" to their name due to legal difficulties with jazz label Verve Records.
- (The) Prodigy. The cover art to The Fat Of The Land used a logo that dropped the definitive article from their name, as did artwork for singles taken from that album, but otherwise they've always officially been The Prodigy. Some further confusion is possible because of a rapper known as Prodigy, who is best known for being half of the duo Mobb Deep.
- (The) Zac Brown Band
- Generally, any band whose name is, or seems to be, a plural noun, will get this. However, there are aversions: Darts, Wings and Steps are three bands who seem largely immune to it.
- Nine Inch Nails generally avoids getting an unnecessary "the," but that might also be thanks to that name being largely associated with just Trent Reznor.
- (The) Capitol Steps
- Julie Ruin was the one album solo project of Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna. The Julie Ruin are a full band that she would form over ten years later.
- See the entry for this trope under Screaming Females. Call them "the Screaming Females" in their presence, and they will jerk you around to their hearts' content.
- Italian horror-movie soundtrack composers Goblin were inexplicably credited as "The Goblins" on at least three films: Suspiria, Dawn of the Dead (1978), and Beyond The Darkness.
- If you want to piss off the fans, insist on calling it "The Gorillaz".
- British folk-rock group Pentangle called themselves "The Pentangle" for their (self-titled) debut album before dropping the article.
- (The) Art of Noise, although they use both.
- (The) Swirling Eddies. They're just "Swirling Eddies" on their second album, Outdoor Elvis; on all other releases, they're "The Swirling Eddies".
- Hardcore Punk group The Faith: "The" is officially part of their name, but their discography consists of one release where the cover says "The Faith" (a split single with Void), and another where it's simply "Faith" (Subject To Change).
- While The Beach Boys are always referred to with a "the" these days, their first two singles, "Surfin'"/"Luau" and "Surfin' Safari"/"409", identified the band as simply "Beach Boys". Strangely enough, while the third single, "Ten Little Indians"/"Country Fair", used "The Beach Boys", the fourth single, "Surfin' U.S.A."/"Little Deuce Coupe", went back to "Beach Boys". Subsequent singles and all albums used "The Beach Boys".
- (The) Alkaline Trio are a strange example. Retail websites list them as The Alkaline Trio, but none of their album covers include a "The."
- This is actually why (A) New Found Glory dropped the "A" from their name: customers at record stores didn't know where to look for their CDs under "A" or "N."
- Parodied in the video for Sum 41's "Still Waiting" in which the band meet with a very out-of-touch record executive who tells them, among other incorrect things, that "number bands are out" and that they should change their name to The Sums.
- Many wrestlers from the National Wrestling Alliance and the World Wrestling Federation had a hard time breaking the habit of using "the" when they were in WCW. Bret Hart in particular was notorious for this.
- Likewise when the World Wrestling Federation changed their name to World Wrestling Entertainment, many wrestlers continued to refer to it as "the WWE," as do many instances on this site. It's still slightly absurd, though: "The...Entertainment" seems redundant, because, it being a collective, abstract noun, there can technically be only one entertainment.
- 2 Cold Scorpio, having been temporarily Put on a Bus down to ECW in 1998 after a year-and-a-half of primarily Jobbing in WWE as Flash Funk, once referred to the promotion, where had been a regular from 1994-1996, as "the ECW."
- UltraMantis Black used to do this in his home promotion, referring to it as "The CHIKARA."
- In Pathfinder, the herald of the god Gozreh is called Personification of Fury. Fury doesn't like being accidentally called "The Personification of Fury" by accident (or being refered to with gendered pronouns, or as "it").
- After the original 1E version, a large number of uses of The Temple of Elemental Evil don't include the "the". The sequel, Return To The Temple Of Elemental Evil, is one of the few exceptions, and it uses the "the" but only because the title doesn't work without it.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Winged Dragon of Ra, whose name is written like that on the card.
- Non-English example: Leoncavallo's popular short opera Pagliacci is NOT I Pagliacci.
- The musical The New Moon was twice filmed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which dropped the definite article from the title.
- Doom: E1M9 is titled Military Base, or in the PlayStation version, The Military Base.
- Legend of Makai, an Arcade Game by Jaleco, is titled "The Legend of Makai" on the flyer, instruction manual and marquee, but the title screen omits the definite article.
- (The) Legend of Zelda. This sometimes pops up in abbreviations: is it just LoZ or is it TLoZ?
- When referring to The King of Fighters, the "The" tends to be dropped by many (i.e. King of Fighters), although the eponymous tournament is usually missing the article as well or just goes by KOF for short. Ditto goes for The Last Blade.
- Langrisser and Der Langrisser are two different games; the latter is a remake of Langrisser II.
- The Numbered Sequels to The Last Ninja omit the definite article.
- The first Touhou game in the Windows series is titled "the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil." note Seeing anyone include a "the" when discussing the game is rare, and seeing it with the original capitalisation is rarer still.
- The series itself can't seem to decide whether it's called "Touhou", "Touhou Project" or "The Touhou Project."
- The Legendary Axe II features the definite article on the title screen, but "Legendary Axe II" is used everywhere else.
- Wizard and the Princess, the predecessor to King's Quest, is known as The Wizard and the Princess.
- The World Ends with You is abbreviated in the manual as "WEWY" (whereas fans are more likely to use "TWEWY"). Fanfiction.Net also has the title of the game written without the "the" in its works listings.
- Zone of the Enders is officially abbreviated "Z.O.E." or "ZOE" by Konami, rather than "ZOTE."
- In the Dark Parables series, the seventh game is Ballad of Rapunzel and the ninth game is The Queen of Sands. However, people often mix them up, putting a The on Rapunzel and/or removing it from Sands.
- Also, the first game in the series is Curse of Briar Rose. For some reason, when it first debuted, it was shown in a few places as Curse of the Briar Rose.
- The Future Foundation is referred to with a definite article in Super Dangan Ronpa 2, but it is omitted in Absolute Despair Girls.
- The Perry Bible Fellowship apparently used to run into this confusion, as Nick Gurewitch addressed the question in an old version of the FAQ page.
Q: "The Perry Bible Fellowship", or "Perry Bible Fellowship"?
A: The PBF. Treat it like a rock band though. For instance: "I own a White Stripes album", not "I own a The White Stripes album".
- (The) Angry Video Game Nerd
- On The Other Wiki, battles have sometimes raged over whether to use the "the" in an article title. The Avengers (the TV series) has it but The Avengers (the comic book) doesn't. The official Manual Of Style says:
Do not use A, An, or The as the first word (Economy of the Second Empire, not The Economy of the Second Empire), unless by convention it is an inseparable part of a name (The Hague) or it is part of the title of a work (A Clockwork Orange, The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien).
- As anyone who's seen The Social Network knows, Facebook started out with a "the" in front of its name.
- This Very Wiki has run into this a few times; "The" is usually omitted from a name unless it is a character type (The Dragon, The Pollyanna) or part of a set phrase (The Blind Leading the Blind). Back when character names were accepted as trope titles, "The" was used to distinguish, say, The Ralph Wiggum (a humorously stupid person) from Ralph Wiggum (the Simpsons character). Pages' search-engine descriptions take such forms as "The The Starscream trope as used in popular culture, with a list of examples from all media." Or better yet, for this page, "The The The Title Confusion trope as used in popular culture, with a list of examples from all media."
- (The) Joueur du Grenier isn't too sure whether the sub-title for ''Prince of Persia 2' is "The Shadow & Flame The" or "The The Shadow & Flame" because of its weird title positioning (it's actually "The Shadow & the Flame").
- The Game Station Podcast (before being re-branded into The Co-Optional Podcast) had an interesting case of this. The show was referred to as The TGS Podcast almost universally. This was repeatedly lampshaded by them.
- The Amazing World of Gumball has two episodes that don't begin with "The": ""Halloween" and "Christmas". Some episode guides will still have them start with "The" despite this.
- The Batman makes a point of keeping the "the" when talking about him.
- (The) Family Guy. This confusion was referenced in "Bobba-Dee Babba-Dee".
- This mistake appeared (seemingly by accident) in a Scrubs episode featuring a cameo appearance from Stewie.
- The Jetsons has a full-length feature titled Jetsons: The Movie, to which fans sometimes refer as The Jetsons Movie.
- The Penguins of Madagascar is a Madagascar spinoff cartoon that aired on Nickelodeon. Penguins of Madagascar is a Madagascar spinoff movie not sharing continuity with the similarly named show.
- In-show example on The Venture Bros. - Dr. Girlfriend insists to The Monarch that the guy from Depeche Mode is straight—"I saw a whole thing about it on the VH-1!"
- The Transformers or just Transformers? Post movies it seems to have stuck without the "the".
- The Gambia
- Ukraine (no "The")
- Sudan (no "The"... though the error is less common now that both Sudan and South Sudan exist).
- Both of the Congos (the Democratic Republic of the Congo, née Belgian Congo, and the Republic of the Congo, née French Congo) suffer from this; neither includes a "the" in the name, but they're usually preceded by one in a sentence.
- United Nations (no "The")
- Skydome, in Toronto, before the name change to Rogers Centre (which still, for the most part, doesn't use "The").
- Ships are variously referred to both with and without "the" prior to their names. For the most obvious example see the Titanic, but it is not incorrect to omit "the", leading ships such as the USS Juneau to be referred to as both "Juneau" and "the Juneau". To add to the confusion, some ships, such as USS The Sullivans, have "the" as part of their actual name.
- There is considerable disagreement over whether Arizona's most famous geological feature should be called "Grand Canyon" or "the Grand Canyon".
- Back after it was built, part of the scandal surrounding the Los Angeles Times' handling of the opening of Staples Center, was that people from Staples and the Lakers were calling the shots on coverage surrounding it up to mandating that it never be called the Staples Center.
- The moon always has "the" (at least when referring to Earth's moon), because, contrary to what QI will have you believe, there is definitely only one. The convention is a bit more shaky for (the) earth.
- New Zealand has two main islands: the South Island (the larger one) and the North Island (the more populous one). Although they are often named on maps without the "the", used in a sentence the "the" is mandatory: "I'm going to South Island" will get you strange looks from the locals.
- The Bronx.