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Could I use a word the as a subject, omitting the actual one? Just like this:

The man has bought a hat; the [hat] fits him.

It's a Russian joke, by the way.

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    Not according to the normal, everyday usage of English and according to probably 99.9% of English utterances. You can, of course, use English however you want; whether many people will understand your meaning is a different story. – Arm the good guys in America Nov 19 '19 at 22:57
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    In normal English a pronoun (such as "it") would be used instead. (And it should be "The man has bought a hat".) – Hot Licks Nov 19 '19 at 22:59
  • What do you mean it’s a Russian anecdote? That a man has bought a hat which fits him hardly qualifies as anecdotal (or particularly Russian). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 20 '19 at 0:22
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    @JanusBahsJacquet the joke is he bought a hat, and only after that he founds that hat fits him (kind of an absurd humor). The original is: «Мужик купил шляпу, а она ему как раз». – undefined Nov 20 '19 at 0:39
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The correct interpretation would simply be:

The guy buys a hat and it fits him.

The idea here is that "Take first, think later"… First he buys the hat, then he tries it on and, what do'ya know, it fits him. It is a poor joke in Russian which isn't quite popular, but there is a better joke with a play of words about a guy, a shop that sells hats, and a woman, who is the shop keeper.

And to answer your question - no.

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    I would say there are no situations where you can use the as subject. A subject must be a nominal unit, which requires a head, and the cannot function as head. The only exception is when citing it as a word (as in, “The ‘the’ at the beginning of the sentence is superfluous”), but absolutely anything can be made into a nominal unit by quoting it, so that can safely be disregarded. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 22 '19 at 0:28
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    That’s not a grammatical sentence. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 22 '19 at 8:26
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    @JanusBahsJacquet I agree, but something of a kind exists in books. – SovereignSun Nov 22 '19 at 8:29
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    Not as an intentional phrasing by a native speaker. If it exists, it’s either written by someone who doesn’t know English very well or it’s a typo (perhaps that or them was intended). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 22 '19 at 8:31
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    @JanusBahsJacquet It may be so. I just want to say that in books we can stumble upon such usages whether they are intended to be there or are present there without the intention. – SovereignSun Nov 22 '19 at 8:33

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