Consider the following phrases:

Example 1:

CompanyX is the world's largest and leading authority for online dating.

Example 2:

CompanyX is world's largest and leading authority for online dating.

As you can see, in the 2nd example the word "the" has been left out. I am not sure if any of these sentences are wrong to say, or if there is a special exception or context when to leave out "the".

I have been looking on google for more information about this, but could not find clear anwsers about it.

I hope someone can clear this problem up for me, thank you in advance!

  • The general rule is that if the noun is somehow unique, the definite article is used. Ex. the moon, the Atlantic Ocean, the Himalayas, the car (if it is the family vehicle) etc. Jan 17, 2019 at 18:11
  • Similarly, do not forget the article on "leading" ... either "a" or "the" depending on whether it is the only "leading authority" or not.
    – GEdgar
    Jan 17, 2019 at 19:51
  • "I have been looking on Google" is not evidence of research. The first port should be grammar the "definite article" superlative Then you explain why these sites did not help you or if their explanations confused you.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 17, 2019 at 8:51

3 Answers 3


Here, the applies to world, not to world's largest.

This is the world's largest bubble bath.

Consider the substitution of a local context instead of global:

This is our largest fork.

Of course, the is not the only article that could help here, depending on the context and intention.

In a world's largest city, there are usually districts.

My world's largest gelatinous cube has 4,000 hit points.

  • Of course, everything goes out the window if this is "telegraphic" communication for a title or web page notation or some such.
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 16, 2019 at 23:12

Except in titles, "the" should go before "world's largest". The same is true no matter the superlative used.

You can see this by searching COCA (or another BYU corpus). The search I used was * world 's largest. About 95% of the matches were for "the world's largest", and the vast majority of the remaining 5% matched "the ____ world's largest" (e.g. "the Arab world's largest").

If you search * world 's _jjt*, you will be able to find numbers for other superlatives (since _jjt* matches superlative adjectives), all of which seemed consistent with what I found for "largest".

  • Nice answer, but this does not explain why we use the word "the" in such cases, though I will still give you an upvote ;)
    – Mr Pie
    Feb 17, 2019 at 1:26

You need the definite article before a superlative, it doesn't matter if it's preceded by a possessive noun, see the online examples with "airline's" "university's", and "country's".


  • Bangkok was once again the airline's busiest route, with a total of 742,759 passengers flying to Thailand's capital city in 2013
  • …operating flights twice a day from Kigali to Johannesburg, one of the airline's busiest route in Africa.

  • Long Beach Airport at 5:15 p.m. and depart from McCarran International Airport at 6 p.m., will result in the fledgling airline's busiest route.


  • Years ago the university's most noteworthy offering was—surprise, surprise—its agricultural program

  • Two hundred and forty-eight honorees were inducted into the university's most prestigious donor recognition society, representing more than ...


  • Rent prices are doing something unexpected in some of the country's most expensive cities.

  • South Dublin the Country's Most Expensive Area.

  • Cambodian premier Hun Sen on Monday opened the country's largest hydropower scheme, swatting aside dire warnings about the...

There are few exceptions, when determiners other than "the" are used to qualify possessive nouns, such as a, this, that, my, our, their etc.


  • Three hundred years later, it continues to attract that country's best and brightest. Hong Kong and Singapore have thrived by establishing themselves as...

  • Because fuel is a major expense in the aviation world, officials say it is in an airline's best interest to seek an efficient streamlined fueling process to keep related costs as minimal as possible.

  • ... clearly needed, that a university's most precious asset is not its endowment but the reputation and effectiveness of its professors, and that professors do their ...

  • As president of my university's most popular fraternity, I had a lot of social and philanthropic issues to attend to. I took this position very seriously and chose ...

  • it is essential that we manage their consequences toward this university's greatest good.

  • Our fifth president's greatest legacy carries his name: The Monroe Doctrine.

  • "If we don’t contain this president’s worst foreign policy impulses on Europe and Russia, we could be living with the wreckage for generations."

  • It has become one of this country's most famous and fabulous events.

  • BBVA also announced that it was discussing a merger with Bancomer of Mexico to create that country's largest bank

  • If you replace "the definite article" with "a determiner", you can remove all the exceptions you listed.
    – Lawrence
    Feb 17, 2019 at 10:51
  • @Lawrence well that's the idea, I agree. Just illustrating how it works to the OP.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 17, 2019 at 10:52

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