From a native speaker standpoint, would it look OK if a company whose name follows the "X Group" pattern omits the use of the definite article when presenting itself on its website, like this (name changed a bit):

Boris Group provides full-service marketing research support across Russia. It is a team of highly skilled research professionals fluent in English and Russian. Boris Group offers expertise in multi-country project management all over the world. Boris Group is a preferred research supplier for international organizations in business & consumer sector.

The company's name does not include the, but would it merit the omission of the article in an introductory text about the company?

Would it be okay to underscore in this way the fact that the company's name, including the word Group, is a proper noun? Or should the be used anyway?

I earlier asked a similar question, and according to an answer given there by a native speaker, adding the is standard practice in media ("the Clarett Group"), but I still have doubts. Maybe a company can opt to write its name without the? Say, so that the reader do not make the mistake of thinking that the company name does include the.

Or would it be a grammatical mistake at any time to omit the in such constructions?

  • 2
    It's definitely not a grammatical mistake, but it breaks a convention, and so the passage is a bit jarring. For a moment, anyway; by the time I got to the last sentence, I was used to it, and stopped noticing. That said, the lack of an article will draw attention to itself, and will surely cause someone on the internet to perceive it as "wrong", even if it isn't (and that someone might be a prospective client of yours), so unless using straight "Boris Group" is important to you, you might consider bowing to convention.
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 19, 2014 at 10:56
  • 1
    I agree with @DanBron, but I also note that the text lacks another article in "in business & consumer sector". It may not have been written by a native speaker — I would assume (most) native speakers would include a handful of extra articles. Looking on the site you link to, I think most native speakers would bring a whole extra bag of articles :)
    – oerkelens
    Sep 19, 2014 at 11:40
  • I've noticed that too, and the text is indeed not a native speaker's creation. (0: It's just that the "X Group" combination bothered me more. And maybe the indefinite article before "preferred research supplier". Sep 19, 2014 at 11:43

2 Answers 2


Names need not follow conventions. Indeed, in the case of trade names, marketers may deliberately break conventions to make them more memorable.

I see/hear nothing wrong with referring to Boris Group without a definite article. In fact, I consider this the conventional form, and find the article unusual when I come across it in names like The GEO Group or The Brilex Group. I myself work for an organization whose name is the pattern ABC Group, never the ABC Group.

If the article is considered part of the name, it is always included and generally capitalized, as with The Walt Disney Company. Otherwise, its use depends on convention, though the organization may indicate how it prefers to be referenced. We tend to say the Gannett Company even though it always refers to itself either as Gannett or as Gannett Co., without an article (e.g. Gannett Co. will report on its quarterly earnings on Thursday). On the flip side, The Ohio State University will never convince every non-Buckeye to include the preceding article; most state universities do not consider it to be part of the name.

Group is no different in this respect from other names which indicate the type of organization: corporation, company, organization, trust, firm, system, funds, brands, and so forth. Even within a single institution, the University of Pennsylvania, we can note the conflicting orthography of The Wharton School (article always included and always capitalized) and the Annenberg School (article always included and conventionally capitalized) and Penn Law (in this form, article never included, though officially it is the University of Pennsylvania Law School).


The use of an article is almost always optional.

Saying the Boris Group distinguishes your Boris group from generic Boris groups, presumably lesser known, Boris groups, but that's not likely to be a problem these days, is it? (I do note that internationally, there is more than one General Electric, and more than one Prudential insurance. Budweiser beer was inspired by a beer made in Budweis, called Budweis beer, but that brewer recently bought the Anheiser-Busch company.)

Decades ago, a lawyer friend asked me why I wrote "The Defiance College" in newspaper stories instead of "the Defiance College" or just "Defiance College." I replied that "The" was part of the name used in the corporate charter, back in 1850. It doesn't make any difference, he said. One can omit the "The" in legal documents without invalidating them. By writing "The Defiance College", he said, I was coming across as a snob, effectively saying "accept no substitutes." DC isn't snobbish; it's a very friendly and informal institution that reflects the non-judgmental attitudes of the United Church of Christ, the mainline Christian denomination that founded and supports them.

So while the grammar gives you a choice, I'd recommend using a lowercase the,where it makes the sentence fall off the tongue more easily, while minimizing the "full of themselves" impression that so many organizations with group or banc in their names project that a capitalized The would cause..

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