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using "the" before a character name

sunkuwan

For example, the character is named John and the Author writes:
"The John used his gun on the target."

I am not a native speaker and it always seems wrong to me.
- was the Author trying to use another description of the character in his mind but wrote the name instead? i.e. he tried to write "The raven-haired man used his gun on the target." but subconsciously wrote the name.
- is this just an error and the author wanted to write "then"? (in some cases "then" don't make sense in the text)
- or is it really a correct but sparsely used form of address?

Ernest Bywater

I suspect it's a typo of some sort.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@sunkuwan


"The John used his gun on the target."


There is a lot more wrong with this sentence than "The".

How did John use his gun on the target?

If he used the gun in the normal sense of how a gun is intended to be used why not say "John shot the target"? It's not even necessary to write "with his gun" because shooting is what you do with a gun.

Replies:   sunkuwan  Capt. Zapp
sunkuwan

@Dominions Son

There is a lot more wrong with this sentence than "The".

How did John use his gun on the target?

If he used the gun in the normal sense of how a gun is intended to be used why not say "John shot the target"? It's not even necessary to write "with his gun" because shooting is what you do with a gun.


*shrug*
It was a particularly memorable sentence I read some days ago and remembered today again when I read another novel with a use like that and a dozen times before that, in other novels.
So, nothing that happens often but enough to make me wonder. Especially because I also read it in a novel from an author who is otherwise nearly error-free and well-spoken.

richardshagrin

Sometimes John is a toilet. If a toilet named John used a gun, it might be ok to say The John used his gun. Of course if the toilet is in a men's room, it would be his gun.

"This is my rifle, that is my gun, one is for shooting, the other for fun."

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Ross at Play

Ignoring recent distractions on this thread ...
I suspect the author meant 'then' for this sentence.
It's definitely wrong. I cannot think of an example where 'the' is possible before a person's name.
The reason for using 'the' instead of 'a/an' is to identify something, but an individual's name already identifies who they are.

Switch Blayde

@sunkuwan

"The John used his gun on the target."


I've never seen this type of error. Most likely a typo. Probably should have been "Then."

Or an earlier version of the sentence was "The man used..." and he decided to switch "man" to "John" and left the "The."

Capt. Zapp

@Dominions Son

If he used the gun in the normal sense of how a gun is intended to be used why not say "John shot the target"? It's not even necessary to write "with his gun" because shooting is what you do with a gun.


Because he may have shot the target with a bow, slingshot, rubberband, or even a spitball.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Capt. Zapp

Because he may have shot the target with a bow, slingshot, rubberband, or even a spitball.


If he had a gun but not any of those other things, it's not necessary to specify.

robberhands

@Switch Blayde

I've never seen this type of error.

The same as sunkuwan I've often encountered this error, and also as he, I wondered if it only sounds strange to non native English speakers. I just never dared to ask the question myself, because I'm already accused of nitpicking too often.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

Or an earlier version of the sentence was "The man used..." and he decided to switch "man" to "John" and left the "The."


I wonder if the story involves prostitution. The men who use prostitutes are referred to as "johns", so the error could be in capitalizing John.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

The men who use prostitutes are referred to as "johns"

A curiosity in my Oxford Dictionary: if you look up "john" it provides the definition "a toilet", but if you click on 'word origin' it then mentions "Early 20th cent. (meaning a prostitute's client)".

robberhands

@Ross at Play

"john", meaning a prostitute's client.

I used it in my new story, with exactly that meaning. Sadly I had to realize I can't use it, because the name John is unknown in that world. So I had to fall back on 'customer'. A tragedy!

Joe Long

@robberhands

I used it in my new story


Where can I find your stories? I searched using your name, in vain.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Joe Long

Strange, should have been easyy enough. http://storiesonline.net/a/Robberhands

Ross at Play

@robberhands

So I had to fall back on 'customer'. A tragedy!

Surely you can find something with a more derogatory connotation.
How about chance, mark, sucker, suckee, ...

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

but if you click on 'word origin' it then mentions "Early 20th cent. (meaning a prostitute's client)"


In the US, john for a prostitute's client is still in active use by prostitutes, law enforcement, and news media for stories about prostitution.

Replies:   Ross at Play
awnlee jawking

@robberhands

Is English spoken in that world? If not, everything you write is a translation and there is no reason to disbar the slang noun 'john'.

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

How about chance, mark, sucker, suckee, ...


'Chance' and 'Mark' are both used as names, so would presumably be subject to the same strictures as 'John' ;)

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

'Chance' and 'Mark' are both used as names, so would presumably be subject to the same strictures as 'John' ;)

But 'john' is a common noun for this meaning, and I suggest 'chance' or 'mark' could be used as common nouns in robberhands universe.

Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

In the US, john for a prostitute's client is still in active use

That's why I described the Oxford Dictionary's not showing it as a current definition as 'a curiosity'.
It does identify it as informal and North American. I was just surprised they were so coy about a usage that is so everyday, and every night.

red61544

@sunkuwan

I suppose if an incompetent businessman can call himself "The Donald", then a fictitious character in an erotic story can call himself "The John". (Maybe we should start using donald instead of john as a synonym for bathroom. It seems appropriate!)

Replies:   sunkuwan  Joe Long
sunkuwan

@red61544

^^

No, the character wasn't a pimp :)

It was just a curiosity. I was 99% sure that those were typos but in the back of my head, someone is saying: so many flies can't be wrong.... ;)

Joe Long
Updated:

@red61544


I suppose if an incompetent businessman can call himself "The Donald", then a fictitious character in an erotic story can call himself "The John".


Thee Ohio State University

Crumbly Writer

If you're not a native English speaker (or you don't reside in the U.S. (wink, wink)), there are actually many uses of the name "John" which would warrant the use of "the".

As has been noted, toilets came to be called "Johns" based on the first U.S. manufacturer (also the source of the name "Commode").

Also "the John" might refer to a male galactic of prostitutes, so a crime story will undoubtedly have many "the John" references.

There are other "Johns", but I can't recall them all. Since "John" was the predominant name in America for some 50 years, it was generally used whenever you refer to anything that non-descript or unsavory males tend to use.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

it was generally used whenever you refer to anything that non-descript or unsavory males tend to use.

John Doe would agree with that, if he wasn't dead.

Perv Otaku

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SpellMyNameWithAThe

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheTheTitleConfusion

Some stuff like "The Donald" is a nickname, other times the person's only name is actually a title like the Baroness in GI Joe (though just as often referred to with the "the").

In the situation mentioned by OP though, it was probably a typo.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Perv Otaku

In the situation mentioned by OP though, it was probably a typo.

Still, it's unfair to call the esteemed Jerk von Wittlesworth, "The Jerk". He may be, but it's better if that isn't the very first thing out of your mouth when you meet.

sejintenej

The and A are normally used in front of an adjective (the OLD man), a word denoting rank (The General) or a position or job (the President, the postman ...) or a word denoting origin/nationality (the Irishman, the alien) There might be a few more.
I agree with the suggestion that there was a typo in the clause quoted

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  Not_a_ID
Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

The and A are normally used in front of an adjective (the OLD man), a word denoting rank (The General) or a position or job (the President, the postman ...) or a word denoting origin/nationality (the Irishman, the alien) There might be a few more.
I agree with the suggestion that there was a typo in the clause quoted

There was a movie, TV show or book some time back about a bunch of high-school girls all named Janet. They formed their own group, and they were collectively called "The Janets".

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

There was a movie, TV show or book some time back about a bunch of high-school girls all named Janet. They formed their own group, and they were collectively called "The Janets".

Are you thinking of the movie 'Heathers'? It's a cult classic which I quite enjoyed. Three of the four girls in a high school clique are called Heather.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Are you thinking of the movie 'Heathers'? It's a cult classic which I quite enjoyed. Three of the four girls in a high school clique are called Heather.

Yep. That's what I was thinking. Blame it on brain freeze, and of course, Google wasn't much help in searching for "The Janets". 'D ("No, don't tell me what I asked for, tell me what I was thinking of!")

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Not_a_ID

@richardshagrin

Sometimes John is a toilet.


A "John" can also be a client for persons providing services of ill repute(typically prostitutes). Not to be confused with a "Mark" who has been targeted by a criminal for victimization.

So in the right context, "The John" could shoot someone, or "The Mark" could respond in anger.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Not_a_ID

@Crumbly Writer

(also the source of the name "Commode").


And I forget which one it was (Either Shit or Crap) but that one is allegedly tied to the branding on the toilets that American "Doughboys" encountered in England while heading to the front in WW1.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Yep. That's what I was thinking. Blame it on brain freeze, and of course, Google wasn't much help in searching for "The Janets". 'D ("No, don't tell me what I asked for, tell me what I was thinking of!")


If Google gives you what you ask for you're doing better than most of us. Google usually gives us what they think we should be looking for.

Replies:   REP
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Not_a_ID

So in the right context, "The John" could shoot someone, or "The Mark" could respond in anger.

I would use lowercase for both 'john' and 'mark' in those contexts.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@sejintenej

The and A are normally used in front of an adjective (the OLD man), a word denoting rank (The General) or a position or job (the President, the postman ...) or a word denoting origin/nationality (the Irishman, the alien) There might be a few more.


Agreed, it is occasionally used as a quasi-honorific (or insult) if somebody(or a bunch of them) decided somebody "embodies" the term in question. Or if the position itself embodies it in some cases, such as "The President" rather than "President Umpty."

The specific usage cited in the OP is an error, whatever happened to let it slip through.

Not_a_ID

@Ross at Play

I would use lower for both 'john' and 'mark' in those contexts.


Honestly, it depends on my book. If a prostitute is speaking generically then the answer is yes. But if they're speaking about a specific one then that john becomes John until another proper name is identified. Because in that line of work, where names are to be avoided, "everybody is named John."

Ernest Bywater

@Not_a_ID

If a prostitute is speaking generically then the answer is yes. But if they're speaking about a specific one then that john becomes John until another proper name is identified.


I always thought they spoke of a john as any client but the john was a specific client who's the focus of discussion. Examples:

"She had a problem getting a john last night."

"That's the john who hurt Alice."

Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

And I forget which one it was (Either Shit or Crap) but that one is allegedly tied to the branding on the toilets that American "Doughboys" encountered in England while heading to the front in WW1.


If that story is true, it would be crap.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Crapper

Ross at Play

@Not_a_ID

But if they're speaking about a specific one then that john becomes John until another proper name is identified.

I would use 'John' in place of a name, but also use 'the john' or 'a john'.

REP

@Ernest Bywater

what they think we should be looking for


I get ads for what someone it trying to sell me.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
richardshagrin

How about "the beaver"? Both a movie with Mel Gibson and a TV show with a much different plot than the movie.

Ernest Bywater

@REP

I get ads for what someone it trying to sell me.


Ad blocker plus stops a lot of that for me, but some of the Ad search answers still sneak through. What gets me is when I deliberately ask for information on something in the USA in the search field Google automatically puts me to Google Australia and gives the first few pages of responses as Australian answers without the US or USA aspect, even when I use double apostrophes to make it a string query it does that to me with the note "do you mean ..."

Mind you, if I switch to a VPN and link to their US exit, then I can get Google to talk about US responses first - frigging wanker programmers who feel they must always know better than the user.

Replies:   awnlee jawking  REP
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

frigging wanker programmers who feel they must always know better than the user.


Hear hear! I hate it when I ask Google to search for an obscure term and Google searches for something else but snidely asks whether I'd like to search for what I actually typed in.

AJ

Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

As has been noted, toilets came to be called "Johns" based on the first U.S. manufacturer (also the source of the name "Commode").


I'm going to go with toilets armed with automatic weapons...

bb

Replies:   Not_a_ID  sejintenej
Not_a_ID

@Bondi Beach


I'm going to go with toilets armed with automatic weapons...


California could probably use them in public restrooms as a deterrent against vandals. "This john is authorized to use deadly force in self-defence." Of course, that probably wouldn't end well for more than just the vandals.

sejintenej
Updated:

@Bondi Beach


I'm going to go with toilets armed with automatic weapons...


Some of my wife's relatives talk of going to the dunny with a shotgun and checking the rafters for snakes and spiders. (She was too young when she left there)

Replies:   Bondi Beach
REP

@Ernest Bywater

frigging wanker programmers who feel they must always know better than the user


An opinion I've held since the 80's

Bondi Beach

@sejintenej

Some of my wife's relatives talk of going to the dunny with a shotgun and checking the rafters for snakes and spiders. (She was too young when she left there)


So there may be a market for armed toilets to clear the rafters before entrance?

I wished I'd had a shotgun when a Huntsman spider came in through the open window in my daughter's room in Sydney years ago.

Those fuckers are big. 18-24 inches across, right, Ernest? Or is it 36-48 inches? I forget.

bb

sejintenej

@Bondi Beach

I wished I'd had a shotgun when a Huntsman spider came in through the open window in my daughter's room in Sydney years ago.

Those fuckers are big. 18-24 inches across, right, Ernest? Or is it 36-48 inches? I forget.

Yeah, them's nasty but then your country is renowned for the number of nasty wildlife.

Herself and I had to contend with the possibility of black mambas - I saw several around the house. Had a ?false widow spider in the kitchen here one day and another time she had a tiny spider fell in her hair - took three months of daily anti MRSA antibiotic and sterilising sprays to fix it and she was lucky.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@sejintenej

Yeah, them's nasty but then your country is renowned for the number of nasty wildlife.


Can't claim Oz as my country; I worked there a few years. No kidding about the nasty beasts and bugs, though.

Thinking about it, that spider must have been at least a meter wide tip to tip. Maybe two meters, even.

bb

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach


Those fuckers are big. 18-24 inches across, right, Ernest? Or is it 36-48 inches? I forget.


Actually, they just seem bigger than they are. The largest I've seen had a body about an inch and a half wide and about three inches long, but with spread legs they go out to about six inches. They do seem huge if you're used to much smaller spiders.

In general they aren't dangerous to humans. just watch out if they rear back on their hind legs and wave their front legs in front of them. Over the years I've moved hundreds of them out of the house, my usual method involves a jar about eight to ten inches across (a small ice cream tub is also a good option but you can't watch them with that) which I place over the spider on the wall or floor, then slide a large sheet of cardboard under the jar, hold cardboard in place while you carry the spider outside, across the road, and place on a tree.

One time I did frighten a friend of my sisters, I gave her a lift home to her place after their basketball game finished at 11.00 p.m., and a large huntsman had set up a web across the three foot wide path to the front door between the tall hedge and the shrubs in the house garden. When she screamed (she's a bigger arachnaphobe than I am) I got out of the car to see what the problem was. Seeing it was a huntsman I put my hand on the web with my fingers spread and waited for the spider to climb onto the back of my hand, then I lifted my hand off the web, walked across the road to tree, put my hand on the tree, and waited for the spider to walk off my hand when I stopped moving on him. No fuss, no problem.

I'm scared of spiders, but not huntsman spiders - I don't know why.

BTW: Don't go near any that are outside on the ground. Many a person has confused a funnel web spider on the ground for a huntsman on the ground - and they're very dangerous and volatile.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_funnel-web_spider

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huntsman_spider

Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach

Thinking about it, that spider must have been at least a meter wide tip to tip. Maybe two meters, even.


Give off, this isn't a fishing or hunting story!

Bondi Beach

@Ernest Bywater

Give off, this isn't a fishing or hunting story!


My mistake. Sorry.

bb

(RAID and a dustpan does the trick, too. No shotgun needed.)

Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

Give off, this isn't a fishing or hunting story!

What? A 12 foot huntsman spider tearing down a wall looking for children to eat sounds like a hunting story to me.

Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

A 12 foot huntsman spider tearing down a wall looking for children to eat sounds like a hunting story to me.


No, that's a monster movie. And at that size, you're going to need an anti-tank weapon.

awnlee jawking

Completely irrelevant aside, but people with a sense of entitlement are describing themselves as 'the' on Twitter on the assumption they have more right to their name than the others they share it with.

So Sophie Bigglesworth, who came fourteenth on the 1829th edition of Big Brother, is @thesophiebigglesworth.

AJ

Replies:   Not_a_ID  sejintenej
JohnBobMead

@Crumbly Writer

Since "John" was the predominant name in America for some 50 years, it was generally used whenever you refer to anything that non-descript or unsavory males tend to use.


And you can just _guess_ how well that has gone over with those of us named John.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@JohnBobMead

And you can just _guess_ how well that has gone over with those of us named John.


I blame the parents for that.

Not_a_ID

@awnlee jawking

Completely irrelevant aside, but people with a sense of entitlement are describing themselves as 'the' on Twitter


To be fair, I have a username that is 20+ years old that has "The" appended to the front of it, and from experience I know I'm not particularly unique in that.

"Dark" (or even "Darth"), and a few other words (including titles typically reserved for nobility/the gentry classes) also tend to be common enough name appendages for usernames online. Usernames exist in their own space, where word-mashups are pretty much expected for public-facing names. Short of people opting for something like "Hi! My username is df2zj4yxt"

sejintenej

@Ross at Play

What? A 12 foot huntsman spider tearing down a wall looking for children to eat sounds like a hunting story to me.

Shouldn't that have been in the "Story Ideas" section? Nice sci fi possibility for planet arachnidheaven :-)

sejintenej
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


Completely irrelevant aside, but people with a sense of entitlement are describing themselves as 'the' on Twitter on the assumption they have more right to their name than the others they share it with.


Yet there are some people in real life to whose name the prefix has always been used. If you saw "A bridge too far" the bloke in a white sweater marching up the centre of the road is always THE Lord Lovat. There is no other titled person apart from the Queen who has that that I know of.

As for twitters on twitter, they just twit. My username exists solely because my real name has been appropriated by the hoi polloi ;-)

- and now my username has been appropriated!

awnlee_jawking

@sejintenej

the bloke in a white sweater marching up the centre of the road is always THE Lord Lovat.


Although it's now regarded as archaic and affected, I believe that is a traditional British form of address for a Lord, so you'd have 'The Lord Lucan' etc.

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee_jawking

Although it's now regarded as archaic and affected, I believe that is a traditional British form of address for a Lord, so you'd have 'The Lord Lucan' etc.

I cannot find anything to support that in style guides.

The only mentions I can find about arbitrary capitalisations of titles are:
* Capitals are always used in the British Commonwealth for the 'Queen' and the 'Lord Privy Seal'. In BrE you would use 'Elizabeth II, the Queen of ...', but in AmE that would be 'Elizabeth II, the queen of ...' In both you would use 'Queen Elizabeth II' following the usual practice of using capitals for titles when they precede the person's name.
* The only British title I can find with a capitalised 'The' is 'The Honourable'.

There is some mention of needless capitals (tugging the forelock) being used frequently by businesses in promotional and internal documents, but it's not considered "correct" for technical writing.

I can see why some might feel inclined to add 'the' before their name for their twit-tag, but I agree with you it is annoyingly pretentious.
I think adding 'that' instead makes sense, as in #thatsophiebuggermyworthlessarse. :-)

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Here's an example of 'the': The Lord Tugendhat

https://www.parliament.uk/biographies/lords/lord-tugendhat/1705

#thatsophiebuggermyworthlessarse


No, that would be 'Love Island' rather than 'Big Brother'. And it should be '@', not '#'. ;)

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

https://www.parliament.uk/biographies/lords/lord-tugendhat/1705

I followed this link on that page:
"What you need to know when writing to a member of the House of Lords."
That had a link called:
"Find a member's title: A-Z list"

As far as I can tell, it says you should address an envelope to "The Lord ...", but they may be referred to as "Lord ..."

Also it suggests that there are more than just 'The Honourables'. Some have an added 'Right' or 'Most', and some are 'Reverends' rather than 'Honourables'.

And it should be '@', not '#'. ;)

Thank you for informing me about something I hope I will never need to know. :-)

Please use Reply to Thread rather than replies to me if you want to continue discussing this here. :-)

helmut_meukel

@Ross at Play

* The only British title I can find with a capitalised 'The' is 'The Honourable'.


eg.
Full title
The Lord Bach
The Rt Hon. the Lord Astor of Hever DL
The Lord Armstrong of Ilminster GCB CVO
The Earl Attlee
The Viscount Chandos
The Rt Hon. the Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top
The Baroness Bakewell DBE
The Countess of Mar
The Rt Rev. the Lord Bishop of Birmingham
The Most Rev. and the Rt Hon. the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury
The Most Hon. the Rt Hon. Marquess of Lothian QC
The Duke of Montrose

The examples above are from the entries in this list: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/lords/

Seems to me only the first 'the' in the full title is capitalized. Lord, Viscount, Earl, Baroness ... are always capitalized.

HM.

awnlee jawking

@helmut_meukel

Doffs forelock ... ;)

AJ

Ross at Play

@helmut_meukel

Seems to me only the first 'the' in the full title is capitalized. Lord, Viscount, Earl, Baroness ... are always capitalized.

I am not sure. What I said is I can find nothing in style guides that supports that.

There may be some difference between a "full title" and the name someone is addressed by.
I think the site AJ found is ambiguous. I identified where it also lists Lords without 'The' in their titles.
I do not think it necessarily means capitals are used when they are named in the middle of a sentence.

Surely this is not correct, 'The function was attended by the Queen and The Baroness Thatcher'!

awnlee_jawking

@Ross at Play

The proper title starts with 'The'. Informally, eg in conversation, you'd drop the 'The'. Sometimes (in circumstances I'm unsure of) the 'Lord' can also be dropped. So if a bunch of lords were hanging out, one might introduce himself as 'Astor of Hever' (from above).

Your style guides will not authoritative - HM's site almost certainly is, but there are other publications with stronger claims eg 'Burke's Peerage'.

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
helmut_meukel

@Ross at Play

Think about an official reception, where each guest is announced when entering. The full title is used for this announcement (I think).

Your example is unfair.

Surely this is not correct, 'The function was attended by the Queen and The Baroness Thatcher'


You should at least compare these three sentences:
'The function was attended by The Queen and The Baroness Thatcher'
'The function was attended by the Queen and the Baroness Thatcher'
'The function was attended by the Queen and Baroness Thatcher'

HM.

Replies:   helmut_meukel
Ross at Play

@awnlee_jawking

Your style guides will not authoritative - HM's site almost certainly is, but there are other publications with stronger claims eg 'Burke's Peerage'.

Can we agree on the ultimate authority, Fawlty Towers?
From the first episode:
Basil Fawlty: Would you put both your names, please.
Lord Melbury: No, I only use one. I'm Lord Melbury, so I just sign 'Melbury'.

helmut_meukel

@helmut_meukel

Addition to my previous post.
The third of my examples would be ambiguous:

'The function was attended by the Queen and Baroness Thatcher'

It could be understood as an enumeration of titles the Queen holds. ;)

HM

Ernest Bywater

@sejintenej

If you saw "A bridge too far" the bloke in a white sweater marching up the centre of the road is always THE Lord Lovat.


Now you're getting into Peers of the Realm there are some weird ways to address them. They have two basic titles they're entitled to, the one with the position and the one with their name. When you refer to them by their position you use The in the title, so you have have Prince Charles who's also The Prince of Wales. In the film A Bridge Too Far the man you mention is Simon Christopher Joseph Fraser 15th Lord Lovat, and would be spoken of as The Lord Lovat and addressed personally as Sir Simon or My Lord if you worked for him or on his estate. At formal events he'd be announced as The Lord Lovat. Peerage titles can get a bit messy at times too, because there are some where they're informally known by just the name of the title or their surname, and I don't know what that isn't universal. Many of the older clans have a clan head who's simply known as, and referred to, with the word the - thus the head of the McDonald Clan is The McDonald, and so on.

Replies:   sejintenej
Dominions Son

@sejintenej

As for twitters on twitter, they just twit.


No, they just are twits.

Ross at Play

In fiction, I don't think I'm going to take much notice of what a bunch of inbred snobs (and their sycophants) say they are entitled to be called.
I think I'm going to use capitals in an almost identical way for barons, earls, and duchesses as I do for presidents, professors, and captains.

A few exceptions I would make have been traditional in English for a long time: the Queen, the Pope, and same other words associated with religions.
Also, I would use 'Speaker' for the position to avoid confusion with the common noun 'speaker'.

I may look up a title that existed in real life, and may make fun of a character who insisted on being called 'The Lord Fartface', but mostly I'd treat such titles as just another word in the language and treat them in the way that word is being used.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@Ernest Bywater

Now you're getting into Peers of the Realm there are some weird ways to address them.
When you refer to them by their position you use The in the title, so you have have Prince Charles who's also The Prince of Wales.

At formal events he'd be announced as The Lord Lovat.

Many of the older clans have a clan head who's simply known as, and referred to, with the word the - thus the head of the McDonald Clan is The McDonald, and so on.

In the case of The Lord Lovat he is the head of the Clan Fraser of Lovat so that could be a lengthy address. There is a separate Clan Fraser, hence the reference to Lovat.

I cannot find a trace of Clan McDonald but there are two separate clans using the name MacDonald..
Ranald Alexander Macdonald of Clanranald has not been elevated to the peerage.

Now it gets complicated with The Right Honourable Godfrey James Macdonald of Macdonald, 8th Lord Macdonald,

Replies:   Dominions Son
sejintenej

@Ross at Play

A few exceptions I would make have been traditional in English for a long time: the Queen, the Pope, and same other words associated with religions.

Also, I would use 'Speaker' for the position to avoid confusion with the common noun 'speaker'

Depending on the context it would be proper to refer to Her Majesty (or H.M.) The Queen and His Holiness The Pope

In the Commons it is The Speaker or Mr Speaker as appropriate.
In respect of the Speaker, he or she is a member of the House of Commons and cannot therefore in theory be elevated to the Peerage and remain Speaker.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@sejintenej

Depending on the context it would be ...

That is what I'm saying I would do with almost all titles in fiction.

In contexts where I would use a capital for 'President', I would also use one for 'Duke', 'Baron', 'Captain', 'Professor', etc.
In other cases I'd use lowercase for them all.
Among the few exceptions where I would never use lowercase are: 'Queen', 'Pope', and 'Speaker'.

Dominions Son

@sejintenej

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997-02-02/news/9702020275_1_ronald-mcdonald-mcdonald-s-restaurants-scot

sejintenej

Thanks - I hadn't seen that one but mukkyD has done that in the past - even in the land of the Mcs and Macs.

There is a company in London which actually looks for such situations when it is employed by the likes of (the unmentionables) and we got caught.
The company I worked for in London got into trouble because it's name has a special meaning in a certain foreign language. Although we were the London branch of a huge international company headquartered in a third country they demanded that the worldwide group change its name. We were eventually able to get around the problem.

JohnBobMead

James H. Schmitz, in The Witches of Karres, has The Leewit. And don't you _dare_ call her anything else!

richardshagrin

How about "the" in the name? Alexander the Great, Richard the Lion-hearted, General of the Army, etc.

My favorite is "Who is buried in Alexander the Grape's Tomb? Alexander the Raisin."

awnlee jawking

Wasn't there a song about someone called The One And Only? ;)

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

Wasn't there a song about someone called The One And Only? ;)

Yeah, but only the one.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Ross at Play

Yeah, but only the one.


Was that the one where the person was shot for proclaiming they were The Son of a Modern Major General?

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