I noticed on Wikipedia there's always a 'The' before 'Ohio State University' but nothing before 'Arizona State University'. My findings were mirrored by search results of a corpus that includes articles of authoritative news outlets such as CNN, The Economist, BBC.

How come the use of the definite article is inconsistent between these two state universities?

Edit: My question is different from the one re [without THE] X University vs THE University of X. My question is: why for the same pattern ie X State University, it's THE Ohio State University and [without THE] Arizona State University? Does it mean the use of 'THE' can be arbitrary and prescriptive?


1 Answer 1


Using "the" in front of an organization's name depends on each organization's official name.

OSU's official name is "the Ohio State University." http://visit.osu.edu/discover/

ASU prefers to go by "Arizona State University." https://about.asu.edu/

  • likewise "the Ukraine" became "Ukraine" when the Soviet Union dissolved. Dec 12, 2017 at 23:45

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