I previously asked whether or not "of" should be used in company names. It appears it is a matter of preference. What about "The"?

Are you aware of any rules, statistics, or guidelines that address the "the" in company names? Is it outdated?

For instance, which is more accepted: The Institute of Research or Institute of Research? The Canada Bank or Canada Bank? What guides the choice?

Thank you in advance.


EDIT: My question is not clear. I am interested in word choice when naming a new company, not when referring to an existing company.

closed as off-topic by Lawrence, AmE speaker, JonMark Perry, Scott, rest_day Jul 25 '18 at 7:16

  • This question does not appear to be about English language and usage within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • It depends on the name and the effect you want it to have. Even then, a lot of it is subjective. Having a determiner as the first word of the name can sometimes make it awkward. E.g. "Let's visit The Amarin. // Which one? // The 'The Amarin' on XYZ St." – Lawrence Jul 18 '18 at 1:44
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because naming is specifically off-topic. See the Help Center/Centre. – AmE speaker Jul 18 '18 at 2:38

Given your edit, I think it's mostly a matter of what will make sense to your customers, suppliers, etc.

  • "The New York Paper and Plastic Company"
  • "New York Paper & Plastic, Inc."

are both equally valid, and both forms are common. Of course, you may find yourself being referred to as "NYPP" in either case eventually.

I will say that in some contexts, "the" might be regarded as pompous, especially for a small or new company - since it might be interpreted as "the only", "the biggest", "the oldest", "the most important". But it could also engender some respect. You'd have to decide based on your audience.


Technically, every corporation and organization has a legal name, which may or may not include a "The". If you are writing for a newspaper, magazine, corporation, or other entity, chances are they have their own style guide which will tell you whether or not to include such words as "The".

In an informal context, whether or not to use "the" is entirely a matter of context.

"We went to McDonald's for lunch."

"We went to the the McDonald's on 12th Street for lunch."

  • I am specifically interested in legal names. For example, Stack Exchange or The Stack Exchange. What guides the choice? Why "The University of Nottingham" instead of "University of Nottingham"? – Justin Z. Amarin Jul 15 '18 at 19:14
  • In a journalistic or legal context, you would use whatever their actual legal name is, as defined in their charter or other founding document. Constructions using "the" (University of Nottingham, City of London) generally require using "the" in front of them. For example, in the United States, one might say "I'm going to Duke University next year, but my brother is going to the University of Notre Dame." This is because "university" is technically a common noun, and requires "the" to indicate a specific university. It's only capitalized in these instance because it's part of a name. – Kenneth Odle Jul 16 '18 at 21:51
  • Then, too, some of this is due to regional differences. In the United States, people tend to say "My brother is in the hospital" and "I'll pay more attention in the future" whereas in the UK people tend to say "My brother is in hospital" and "I'll pay more attention in future." – Kenneth Odle Jul 16 '18 at 21:52
  • My apologies, Kenneth. My question is ambiguous. I am interested in word choice when naming a new company, not when referring to an existing company. – Justin Z. Amarin Jul 17 '18 at 22:53

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