Consider a company called:

The Association of Examples Ltd.

When you refer to this company, should you have to capitalize "the" when it's mid-sentence and would have been used even if it wasn't in the name?

It looks odd to me:

In other news, The Association of Examples announced that...

Sarah is the founder of The Association of Examples and has...

But I imagine it's the correct way.

For the grammar-conscious, why or why not?

To give you context, I am asking also when branding ones own company like that. The Economist did it (as did Fitzgerald for The Great Gatsby) and Wikipedia authors adhere, but I can imagine it can cause confusion.

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    It looks horrible. I ignore them and capitalize correctly, which means leaving the caps off articles mid-sentence. – tchrist Jul 15 '13 at 22:20
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    "The Great Gatsby" wouldn't be so great without the definite article. – Kris Jul 18 '13 at 6:25

The Guardian Style Guide gives the following:

[Lowercase] for newspapers (the Guardian), magazines (the New Statesman), pubs (the Coach and Horses), bands (the Black Eyed Peas, the Not Sensibles, the The), nicknames (the Hulk, the Red Baron), and sports grounds (the Oval).

[Uppercase] for books (The Lord of the Rings), films (The Matrix), poems (The Waste Land), television shows (The West Wing), and placenames (The Hague)

I think these things are convention more than anything else. Worth noting that they decide on the format 'The Lord of the Rings' rather than 'The Lord Of The Rings'.

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    Good source — so which does a company fall under? – Baumr Jul 16 '13 at 8:30
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    Ever wondered why 'The Lord of the Rings' rather than 'The Lord Of The Rings'? Not idiosyncracy, not chance. – Kris Jul 18 '13 at 6:28

Strictly, this depends on whether the "The" is formally part of the company's name (e.g. its registered name).
If it is part of the formal name, then it should be capitalised as part of the proper noun.
If it is not part of the formal name, then it should not be capitalised.

[Your 'bonus' question is merely asking for opinions ("is it wise ...?") and is strictly off-topic on ELU.]

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  • I clarified the bonus question part – Baumr Jul 16 '13 at 8:33

I almost never capitalize the 'the' in something like your Association of Examples. It looks awkward, and it's really not even part of the name. For instance, you wouldn't refer to a medical study as "a the Centers for Disease Control study."

As far as branding is concerned, I think a capitalized 'The' is a subtle way to make your brand name stand out, but it carries with it a certain pretension, as well as a certain... conservatism, for lack of a better word. It seems to hearken back to the 19th century, somehow.

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    This is a statement of opinion, not really a factual answer. – MetaEd Jul 16 '13 at 1:33
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    Can there really be a factual answer to a question like this? Like the answer above mine says, this is, to some extent, a matter of convention. – Ben C. Jul 16 '13 at 1:44
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    The point of the site is to provide expert answers to questions using facts, reliable sources, and specific expertise. Questions which purely invite opinion are generally taken offline with a close reason of: "Primarily opinion-based. Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise." – MetaEd Jul 16 '13 at 1:52
  • I'll keep that in mind. – Ben C. Jul 16 '13 at 1:59
  • @MετάEd, I don't see why there can't be reliable sources for this question — I've clarified the bonus part – Baumr Jul 16 '13 at 8:33

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