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The "The" Title Confusion

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"...John Williams is producing Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband—invariably spoken of as The Ideal Husband by the same group of intellectuals who always refer to The Doll's House."
Dorothy Parker, review of An Ideal Husband, November 1918

The word "the" is among the most common of all the words in all of the English language, the result of which is often the placement of "the" in the title of a work or in the name of a group regardless of the wishes of the people or the person who made it. (This also happens with definite articles in other languages: "le" in French or "der" in German, for instance.)

The "The" Title Confusion is when nobody seems to be quite sure whether or not a "the" is required in a title. As a result, merchandise or advertising can sometimes make it seem as if the title is constantly changing, or if there might even be multiple works/groups with the same title. Often Word of God is required to make a final decision on the matter.

Further confusion surrounds the question of whether something which doesn't include a "the" in the title officially should be supplied with one when grammatically appropriate. The "United States of America" doesn't have a "the" in the title, but you'd never use it in a sentence without one; by contrast, several bands which don't include articles get very upset when one is used. There are times when a "the" would clash with another article, in which case it's generally accepted that you drop the one in the name; it's "a Strokes song", not "a The Strokes song". In terms of alphabetical ordering, "the" and "a/an" are often ignored, and as such The Godfather should be categorized under "Godfather", not "The". Furthermore, some languages (such as Japanese) don't use articles at all. As such, when translated, the translator will usually add a "the", as just calling, say, a Kaiju movie "Giant Monster Attacks" would be ungrammatical in English (unless of course it's meant to be "attacks, plural, which are perpetrated by giant monsters" as opposed to "a singular giant monster is presently attacking").

In many cases, an author will go ahead and drop the "the" from a title ahead of time, aware that many people would do so anyway just for the sake of brevity.

Compare Spell My Name with a "The", when the use of a "the" is insisted.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • Peanuts: It's just Peanuts, not The Peanuts. In the years since Schulz's death, many people in the public and even media outlets have started to call the characters "the Peanuts", even though they were never called that when he was alive ("the Peanuts gang" or "the Peanuts kids" usually being the collective term). Even more confusing, some people have even been known to call the characters "The Peanut Gallery", which is way, way off.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

In General:

  • 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 on IMDB.
  • Played straight for a lot of movie localizations in France. It seems like a tacit "rule" that movie titles that are not translated lose their "the"note , especially if it can shorten it to a single word.


  • (The) Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
  • Both Batman and The Batman exist as titles for adaptation of the comic books about superhero (The) Batman.
  • Bicentennial Man: Because the original story is named "The Bicentennial Man", it is odd that the title of the film chooses to remove the definite article. This also caused The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories to be republished with a cover from the film poster declaring the title to be Bicentennial Man.
  • In the film Body Slam about a combination 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.
  • Tim Robbins' film Cradle Will Rock is about the production of and controversy around a Depression-era play called The Cradle Will Rock.
  • The re-release of The Eye Creatures had the phrase "Attack of the" superimposed on top of the original title ("The Eye Creatures", which already has "The"), resulting in Attack of the The Eye Creatures.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Batman's archenemy is referred to as ''the'' Joker in almost every appearance in various media - his first solo movie however is simply called Joker.
  • Last Action Hero was usually called The Last Action Hero until its release sans "The".
  • The Little Shop of Horrors and Little Shop of Horrors. The latter is a musical adaptation of the former.
  • 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.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Avengers was followed by Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
  • 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.
  • 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 Naked City is an interesting case. The movie's title isn't actually shown onscreen, but rather spoken (with the definite article) in producer Mark Hellinger's opening narration. The original poster art omits the article, as does the later TV series adaptation.
  • 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).
  • 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 was 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.
  • All sequels of The Slumber Party Massacre omit the article, as does the made-for-TV remake.
  • 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 was no longer titled The Star Wars, nor was the January 15, 1976 revised fourth draft, which was titled Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope, from the Journal of the Whills.
    • There's often confusion about the subtitles of the other films in the saga as well, since it's somewhat inconsistent whether they include an article or not: it's Return of the Jedi, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith, but the rest of the films, including the entire sequel trilogy, begin with a "the". A New Hope is the only one to feature an article other than "the".
  • The sequel to Suicide Squad is called The Suicide Squad.
  • Only the first film of the Terminator franchise starts with "The". More confusingly, the working title of that movie was simply Terminator.
  • The credits to the American version of War of the Gargantuas have a The before the title which is not included when the title is displayed on advertising or home video packaging.
  • The 2005 Spielberg adaptation of The War of the Worlds dropped the "The" from the title.
  • The Wicked City is a 1992 live-action film adaptation of Wicked City.
  • 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.

  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was originally published without a leading article. Later printings added a "The" at the beginning.
  • The Book of Mormon is published with "The", but like the Bible, when talking about the Book of Mormon in a sentence, "the" is lowercase. For extra complication and confusion, the theatrical production of the same name always capitalises "The".
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • Despite commonly being abbreviated "LotR", J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy epic is called The Lord of the Rings.
    • Also happens in-story: when Radagast talks about a land he's heard of called Shire, Gandalf tells him it's The Shire. Nonetheless, this same mistake has been made out-of-story too: the first line of Leonard Nimoy's novelty song "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins," the opening line is "In the middle of the earth, in the land of Shire," when it should have been "In Middle-earth, in the land of the Shire."
  • Mistborn: The third Wax and Wayne book, The Bands of Mourning, was a victim of this for a long time on This Very Wiki, with many tropers dropping the "The".
  • The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is actually titled just Nutcracker and Mouse King in the original German (Nußknacker und Mausekönig). This change in translation also carries over to the popular ballet adaptation. (See "Theatre.")
  • The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond: The first story, "The Three Horsemen of Apocalypse", is often mistakenly referred to with an extra "the" before "Apocalypse".
  • The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume One has been printed both with and without a "The" at the beginning of the title.
  • 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 Title Drops in the text use the five-word title, "the sign of the four", it being a reference to four criminal conspirators.)
  • (The) Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - originally with no "the" but often printed with one.
  • One entry in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga 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.
  • The third arc of Warrior Cats, Warrior Cats: Power of Three, is often written with a "the" and abbreviated "T Po T" by fans, despite not actually having a "the".

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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:
    • "Horror of Fang Rock" is frequently prefixed with "The".
    • "Last of the Time Lords" only has one "the" in its title. The list of sources to get this wrong include the back of the DVD box set.
    • "Empress of Mars" was first announced as "The Empress of Mars" when the Series 10 episode titles were released. Only when it aired did the title card make it clear that there is no "the" in the title.
  • 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".note 
  • It uses a different article, but the TV series Game of Thrones draws its title from the book A Game of Thrones.
  • Guiding Light was known before 1975 as The Guiding Light.
  • Happy Days: Arthur Fonzarelli, 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.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: Overlapping with Early-Installment Weirdness, the titular starship is sometimes referred to as "the Voyager" in early episodes. In later episodes, the creators codified that all characters would refer to the ship in universe as Voyager without the "the". See the note on ships on Real Life section below.
  • Weakest Link. It was The Weakest Link in the very early days, but that didn't last long.
  • The X-Files, or X-Files.

  • Any band in The '60s (and to an extent The '70s) that did not have "The" in their name were inevitably referred to by the press or even marketed as such. Examples include "The Pink Floyd" and "The Cream".
  • (The) Alkaline Trio are a strange example. Retail websites list them as The Alkaline Trio, but none of their album covers include a "The."
  • (The) Arctic Monkeys
  • Henry Cow spin-off Art Bears only had a "The" on one limited-edition single at the end of their career, and even that was probably just a mistake by whoever stamped up the labels. The name is meant to be parsed as Art (noun) Bears (verb), which theoretically could still take a "The", but doesn't.
  • Art of Noise interchangeably rendered their name with and without a "the" at the start.
  • Averted with Barenaked Ladies. Their name is supposed to be an Intentionally Awkward Title.
  • Pete Wentz's band Black Cards are often called "The Black Cards".
  • For some inexplicable reason, some CD reissues of Black Sabbath's first album added the definite article to the closing track "Warning".
  • 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) Buffalo Springfield
  • Both The Buggles and The Fun Boy Three did officially have a "The", but are often referred to without it. In both cases, it wasn't helped by designers omitting the definite article from the front of their single sleeves simply because it looked better that way.
  • (The) Buzzcocks
  • (The) Capitol Steps
  • Carpenters: Commonly gets a "The" prepended to the name.
  • The Chicks' former name was Dixie Chicks, but they were very commonly called "the Dixie Chicks." When they dropped "Dixie" from their name in 2020, they added a "The."
  • Cocteau Twins: Neither the band nor the early Simple Minds song they're named after properly have a "The", but both often get one added in error.
  • (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.
  • Eagles: Commonly gets a "The" prepended to the 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) Electric Light Orchestra
  • (The) Eurythmics
  • Faces: Commonly gets a "The" prepended to the name.
  • 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).
  • Italian horror-movie soundtrack composers Goblin were inexplicably credited as "The Goblins" on at least three films: Suspiria (1977), Dawn of the Dead (1978), and Beyond the Darkness.
  • Go-Go's are repeatedly called "The Go-Go's" on their official website, though their record sleeves, posters and so on have always been just "Go-Go's"... and even the website itself is
  • If you want to piss off the fans, insist on calling it "The Gorillaz".
  • (The) Jonas Brothers
  • 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.
  • (The) Kaiser Chiefs
  • "The macarena" is a dance. The song it's usually done to is a One-Woman Song just titled "Macarena".
  • (The) Magnetic Fields
  • (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 artwork to Tres Cabrones credits them as Los Melvins, just to add to the Gratuitous Spanish motif.
  • For a long time the Mountain Goats' name was consistently stylized with an all-lowercase "the." Some music sites still format the name this way.
  • 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" (although it would be on "N" either way, since articles usually don't count for alphabetical sorting).
  • (The) Newsboys
  • The Offspring released their second album under the name "Offspring".
  • British folk-rock group Pentangle called themselves "The Pentangle" for their (self-titled) debut album before dropping the article.
  • (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.
  • 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) Pixies
  • (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. Now Retconned: the two albums originally released with "The" have since been reissued without it.
  • (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.
  • 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.
  • Slade were briefly The Slade, having shortened it from the record company-imposed name Ambrose Slade. They had firmly settled on Slade by the time they made their commercial breakthrough, however.
  • (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").
  • In the late '60s, there used to be a psychedelic rock band named The Status Quo. After the turn of the decade, they dropped the "The" and switched to Three Power Chords and the Truth rock & roll.
  • It's generally accepted that Stereophonics doesn't get prefaced with a "the" but people sometimes slip up and refer to them as "the Stereophonics" even though there's officially no "the" in the band's name.
  • (The) Strawbs
  • Parodied in the video for Sum 41's "Still Waiting" in which the band meets 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.
  • Glam rockers The Sweet dropped the "The" after their first couple of hits. Most people kept on calling them The Sweet regardless.
  • (The) Swirling Eddies. They're just "Swirling Eddies" on their second album, Outdoor Elvis; on all other releases, they're "The Swirling Eddies".
  • The band Talking Heads are 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. Amusingly, Chris Frantz, the band's own drummer, botches this in the film Stop Making Sense.
    • David Byrne actually poked fun at this trope in his interview with himself to promote Stop Making Sense, where one of his interviewer personas asks if, based on his experience making the film, he now wants to be in movies like, "The Prince, the Sting, the David Bowie?"
  • The The:
    • Deliberately invoked by the band, which leads 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.
  • Short-lived Scottish postpunk band Thursdays get a mention in the 2015 documentary Big Gold Dream in which narrator Robert Forster (of Jangle Pop group The Go-Betweens) refers to them as "The Thursdays"... but is proven wrong just seconds later when we see a lingering shot of an original Thursdays flyer which lists their name "Thursdays" several times, then at the bottom says "NOT 'The Thursdays'".
  • (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) Zac Brown Band

  • 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.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • 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."

  • X Minus One's "The C-Chute": The original story is called "C-Chute", but the show's announcer presents the episode as "The C-Chute". The namesake is singular for the room the protagonists are in, but is plural within the ship they're in, so not much is gained by emphasizing the singular.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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 referred 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.
  • World of Darkness, or The World of Darkness.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Winged Dragon of Ra, whose name is written like that on the card.

  • The Hot L Baltimore: The TV adaptation is simply Hot l Baltimore, which makes many forget the play is has a "the" article. In the end, both phrasings are used interchangeably.
  • The musical The New Moon was twice filmed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which dropped the definite article from the title.
  • The Nutcracker is the popular ballet's traditional English title, but its original Russian title, Shchelkunchik, just translates as Nutcracker. The first ballet company ever to stage it in America, the San Francisco Ballet, has always called it by the latter name, with no "The."
  • Non-English example: Leoncavallo's popular short opera Pagliacci is NOT I Pagliacci.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • The concurrently-developed arcade counterpart to Jaleco's NES game Astyanax was officially localized as The Astyanax, though both versions were titled The Lord of King in Japan.
  • The Future Foundation is referred to with a definite article in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, but it is omitted in Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls.
  • Dark Parables:
    • The seventh game of the series 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.
  • Doom: E1M9 is titled Military Base, or in the PlayStation version, The Military Base.
  • On The Elder Scrolls: Arena title screen, the game is titled The Elder Scrolls Chapter One: The Arena.
  • (The) First Samurai. "The" appears on the title screen only, in small and poorly colored letters.
  • The King of Fighters:
    • When referring to the series, 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.
    • The Massive Multiplayer Crossover Beat 'em Up Spin-Off released between XIV and XV is officially titled The King of Fighters All Star, with All Star sometimes depicted as a single word in all caps ("ALLSTAR"). For convenience, many fans opt to call the game KOF All Star, as did This Very Wiki before renaming the page to the full title. (And that's before you get to the occasional "KOF All Stars" typo, something that TV Tropes also briefly ran afoul of.)
  • Langrisser and Der Langrisser are two different games; the latter is a remake of Langrisser II.
  • Similar to fellow SNK series The King of Fighters (see above), expect to see The Last Blade and its sequel have the "The" in the title omitted quite frequently.
  • The Numbered Sequels to The Last Ninja omit the definite article.
  • Japanese box art of The Last Story has the title written in English, but also has a Japanese transliteration - "ラストストーリー", meaning just "Last Story".
  • The Legendary Axe II features the definite article on the title screen, but "Legendary Axe II" is used everywhere else.
  • 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:
  • The narration of this commercial for Metroid II: Return of Samus says "The Return of Samus" right when the logo appears on the screen saying "Return of Samus". The remake changed the subtitle to Metroid: Samus Returns.
  • Prince of Persia:
  • Touhou Project:
    • The first 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." TV Tropes itself originally went with the first, then switched to "Touhou Project."
  • Wizard And The Princess, the predecessor to King's Quest, is known as The Wizard and the Princess.
  • Wizards Castle: Was originally written as "Wizard's Castle", but some releases have it as "The Wizard's Castle".
  • The World Ends with You is abbreviated in the DS version's manual and the name of a handful of fourth-wall-breaking postgame threads as "WEWY". Most fans ignored this and referred to it as "TWEWY"; the Solo Remix and Final Remix Updated Re-releases ascended this by renaming the threads in question (they didn't have manuals).
  • Zone of the Enders is officially abbreviated "Z.O.E." or "ZOE" by Konami, rather than "ZOTE."

  • 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 Sword Interval: The title as displayed in-comic is "The Sword Interval", but Webtoon lists the comic as just "Sword Interval".

    Web Original 
  • As anyone who's seen The Social Network knows, Facebook started out with a "the" in front of its name.
  • For alphabetization purposes, Fanfiction Dot Net omits any "the" at the beginning of a fandom's name, leading to such categories as "Movies -> Lion King" and "Games -> World Ends With You".
  • TV Tropes 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."
  • On Wikipedia, battles have sometimes raged over whether to use the "the" in an article title. The Avengers (1960s) (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).

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • 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. This is to differentiate it from the then-recent DCAU and the Burton-Schumacher movies, which preferred simply "Batman" to the extent that it became a meme ("I am Batman!/I'm Batman.") Conversely, many of Batman's Rogues Gallery are referred to without the article, such as (the) Joker.
  • (The) Family Guy. This confusion was referenced in "Bobba-Dee Babba-Dee". This mistake appeared (seemingly by accident) in a Bones episode featuring a cameo appearance from Stewie.
  • The Jetsons has a full-length feature titled Jetsons: The Movie, to which fans sometimes refer to 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.
  • Sometimes, people call Regular Show, The Regular Show.
  • While one SpongeBob SquarePants episode from the second season is simply titled "Graveyard Shift", home video releases of the episode mistakenly put a "the" in it, making it spell "The Graveyard Shift".
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars was a traditionally animated miniseries about the Clone Wars. Star Wars: The Clone Wars was a CG-animated series on the same topic that ran for several seasons.
  • Steven Universe: The first episode of Season 4 is titled "Kindergarten Kid" according to its title card, but most official sources (such as iTunes and the Cartoon Network website and app) call it "The Kindergarten Kid".
  • The Transformers or just Transformers? Post-movies it seems to have stuck without the "the". The 1986 movie itself however was titled The Transformers: The Movie.
  • In-show example on The Venture Brothers: 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!"
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: Episode 4 is titled "The Fall of the Castle of Lions" on the episode title card, but the Netflix listing omits the first "The".

    Real Life 
  • There are several countries that are commonly referred to as "The (country name)" despite lacking a definite article in their name.
    • Sudan... though the error is less common now that both Sudan and South Sudan exist.
    • Ukraine. This is somewhat controversial, as referring to it as "the Ukraine" can carry the implication that the speaker sees it as merely a region and not an independent nation.
  • Countries with "Republic" in its name, due to rules in the English language. None of the countries below have "the" in their names officially.
  • Names of rivers are often preceded by "the" in English. Examples: The Ohio River, the River Thames, the Rubicon, the Nile, and many others. This tendency is often zig-zagged with other bodies of water. For example, Puget Sound or Lake Superior are never preceded by "the", but the Bay of Bengal, the Aral Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean are.
  • Interstate highways zig-zag this. Numbered highways take a definite article in California ("the I-10") but rarely elsewhere ("I-10" or "Interstate 10"). In Chicago, it is always "the Dan Ryan Expressway", but "Edens Expressway" and "the Edens Expressway" are both acceptable, possibly because this highway predates the Interstate system. If the word "Expressway" is dropped, the definite article is always required ("I'll be taking the Dan Ryan to the Edens.")
  • Many works from languages that lack an equivalent to the English "the", such as Russian or Japanese, have this problem when they're marketed in Anglophone markets.
  • Many (though not all) newspapers have "The" as part of their official title, so that references to them should properly be (for example) The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Denver Post and so on. Contrasting this is the Los Angeles Times, which notably 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.note  However, whether it is correct to use "the" prior to designations (USS, HMS, etc.) depends on what they stand for. "The" works fine prior to USS ("United States Ship") and RMS ("Royal Mail Steamer") but not HMS ("His/Her Majesty's Ship") as this is ungramatical.
  • Steve Jobs insisted that Apple products shouldn't be preceded with "the" and should be referred to like people rather than objects, as he viewed them as a representation of a user.
  • There is considerable disagreement over whether Arizona's most famous geological feature should be called "Grand Canyon" or "the Grand Canyon". National Park Service publications universally omit the definite article regardless of whether it refers to the park or to the canyon itself, while common usage almost universally includes the article, possibly treating it as a shortened version of the old name "the Grand Cañon of the Colorado".
  • The Bahamas. And no, the "s" at the end is not optional. "The Bahama" is not valid (although "Grand Bahama" is the name of one of the country's islands).
  • The British Broadcasting Corporation is referred to on this very wiki as The BBC, despite not officially being branded as such, and despite there being no possible confusion with any other "BBC" out there. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, meanwhile, is referred to here as The ABC, to prevent confusion with America's ABC.
  • The Bronx.
  • 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. Averted when the venue became Arena in 2021.
  • 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 Ohio State University has "The" as an official part of its name, and people affiliated with OSUnote  often emphasize the article in that context. This led to an amusing headline when another Ohio university beat them in a basketball game.
    • Interestingly enough, nearly half of Ohio State's conference rivals also have a "The" in their official name, but don't emphasize it, including primary rival (The) University of Michigan.note 
  • SkyDome, in Toronto, before the name change to Rogers Centre (which still, for the most part, doesn't use "The").
  • The famous London thoroughfare officially called Strand, but popularly known as "The Strand" since at least the 13th century.
  • A prominent street in Richmond, Virginia was long called "The Boulevard", although its street signs read simply "Boulevard". Averted in 2019 when said street was renamed Arthur Ashe Boulevard, after the tennis great and social activist who was a Richmond native.
  • Cartoon Network started out with "the" in front of its name. The Cartoon Network is still its legal name.
  • United Nations (no "The").

Alternative Title(s): The Extraneous The