I'm not a native English speaker and sometimes I encounter article "the" used in stressed form before some noun or name, mostly in movies, like "That's not the gun, that's THE gun" or "He is THE specialist". Is it correct or common use of this article for emphasizing something outstanding? Is it allowed in written form?

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    It is perfectly correct, but in formal work it should be typographically represented in italics rather than all-caps. – StoneyB on hiatus Apr 3 '13 at 12:24
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    ...or -- less commonly -- bold, or small caps. – Andrew Leach Apr 3 '13 at 13:13
  • @AndrewLeach Small caps are greatly preferred in proper typesetting. Bold faces are much too heavy in normal print. – tchrist Apr 3 '13 at 17:00

Having 'THE' emphasized draws attention to the article, stressing the fact that this is 'the' gun, as opposed to 'a' gun... in other words, it is highlighting that it is a specific gun, not simply one gun out of many.

It is generally used to point out that something is in some way exceptional or highly relevant.

  • Thanks, I thought of this usage, but wasn't sure – A.S. Apr 3 '13 at 22:21

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