This is the title of a short story I'm writing:

The Sunday Earthquake and the Red Planet in the Sky

I don't know why, but I think it reads better if I remove of the "thes":

Sunday Earthquake and the Red Planet in the Sky

I've seen this be done before. For instance in two stories, by the Japanese author Haruki Murakami:

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of The World

The Wind-Up Bird and Tuesday's Women

I'm not very sure, though. Maybe the second "the" isn't necessary in the two examples above. Is it OK to omit one "the" if there are two in the title of a book/story?

  • 1
    Well, "The Tuesday's Women" is wrong whether there is another part to the title or not.
    – GEdgar
    Aug 8, 2013 at 15:27
  • Try combining these four titles without all their articles: J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and The Children of Húrin. Similarly with Gene Wolfe’s The Shadow of the Torturer, The Claw of the Conciliator, The Sword of the Lictor, and The Citadel of the Autarch. Or with George Martin’s A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons, The Winds of Winter, and A Dream of Spring. Try to make it sound natural, the way one might speak of them. It’s harder than one might think.
    – tchrist
    Aug 8, 2013 at 16:48
  • @GEdgar But "The Tuesday Before Last's Women"...oh never mind, we'll be on to how to form the possessive correctly.
    – JeffSahol
    Aug 8, 2013 at 18:24

3 Answers 3


It is your title, so you can do what you like; there is no "rule" here. For example:

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

I think you can make the case that using the definite article tends to emphasize that the story is about a particular (or unique) entity: "The Red Planet in the Sky" implies that there is only one, or you're only writing about just the one, red planet in the sky.


Yes it is perfect to omit one the. In fact you should omit one the. Book titles are generally short phrases which give a hint of what is there in the story and need not be perfectly constructed sentences.


It is the title, so you should make it as short as possible.

You can omit all the two "the"s here. Or You can make another coinage of the phrase for your title.

  • What does “all the two” mean?
    – tchrist
    Aug 8, 2013 at 16:49
  • @tchrist, I expect he means "both", even though there are actually three occurrences of 'the' in the original title.
    – Hellion
    Aug 8, 2013 at 17:19

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