I have a colleague who insists on inserting "The" into the following sentence ---

"If you're familiar with Johnson City's hip, comfortable The Ellis Hotel, you'll love the new Autograph Collection by Marriot."

The rationale for inserting "The" is that the hotel is persnickety about their name, and my colleague insists on deferring to the hotel's preferred style.

I maintain that the geographic identifier --- "Johnson City's" --- functions as a definite article, thereby making "The" redundant and grammatically incorrect. I.e., we would never write, "If you're familiar with the hip, comfortable The Ellis Hotel, you'll love . . ."

Is this in fact ungrammatical ? Or is it merely bad writing ?

If the former, what specific rule has been violated ?

  • What about "If you're familiar with the epic Western film The Wild Bunch, you'll love..." Would you drop "The" from "The Wild Bunch" because there's already a "the" before "epic"?
    – Zebrafish
    Dec 20, 2018 at 1:17
  • By the way, I doubt "The" is officially part of their name. This is based on what I've seen on their official website and Wikipedia.
    – Zebrafish
    Dec 20, 2018 at 2:05
  • "The" is part of the legal name and title of the business, and the whole name and title will stay that way, except in very informal references. Grammar has nothing to do with this. "The" in the name could as well have been any combination of letters for that matter. So, relax!
    – Kris
    Dec 20, 2018 at 7:05
  • "We would never write, "If you're familiar with the hip, comfortable The Ellis Hotel, you'll love . . ." It does sound awkward, but it's technically grammatical to do so.
    – Dan
    Dec 28, 2018 at 16:03

1 Answer 1


I see your point, but "The" in "The Ellis" functions as both a definite article and part of a proper noun.

You could say "California's Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson was born in 1972," and (assuming the reader knew the context) "California's "The Rock" was born in 1972."

If the name was "Charlie's Hotel" you would never omit "Charlie's." It sounds better to omit the "The" in the sentence you posted, but based on those two examples I believe it is grammatically incorrect to do so.

  • I think it's just a matter of not naming something by its correct name. Like technically if I said I went to Gambia that probably wouldn't be technically correct because it's officially The Gambia, but I'm not sure it's a grammatical error.
    – Zebrafish
    Dec 20, 2018 at 1:33
  • Grammar has no role here.
    – Kris
    Dec 20, 2018 at 7:06
  • Note: It's not "The Ellis" any more than it is "Ellis Hotel", it's "The Ellis Hotel".
    – 3D1T0R
    Dec 20, 2018 at 19:35

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