If you've got a company/venue name with "The" in it, e.g. "The Royal Hotel", you'd always capitalise the "The". Now imagine you colloquially call it "The Royal", would you capitalise the "The" then or not? I can't make my mind up on this and am struggling to Google it so wanted a consensus - uppercase seems overkill but lowercase looks odd!


"Shall we stay in The Royal again over summer?"

"Shall we stay in the Royal again over summer?"


  • 1
    Google Books indexes aren't case-sensitive, so you can just look at the results from a search for "at the royal last night" to see what published writers normally do. Nov 3, 2022 at 17:55
  • If you're colloquially calling something by a particular nickname, you're not writing it, so you can imagine all the letters capital or Spencerian or italic, as you please. Nov 3, 2022 at 17:59
  • @JohnLawler Good point but it's for dialogue in fiction
    – valoukh
    Nov 3, 2022 at 18:05
  • Then use your own judgement. That's what everybody else does. Nov 3, 2022 at 18:07

3 Answers 3


Let's imagine the dialogue is

A: The murder was reported in "The Times". It took place at "The Royal Hotel"."

You will note that

(a) there are inverted commas,

(b) it is not "The murder was reported in the The Times. It took place at the The Royal Hotel."

Let's assume that the Hotel was called "George III": we would write

"Let's stay at the "George III"." or "Let's stay at the "George"."

Let's assume that the Hotel was called "John's Place": we would write

"Let's stay at "John's Place"." "Let's stay at "John's"." "Let's stay at the "Place".

The The in any title serves as a both its own determiner and part of a compound proper noun. Other than as the full written name, "the" is not capitalised.

The is not used at all where the shortened title is a determiner (John's)


The Guardian Style Guide says under "hotel":

do not cap up “hotel”: the Dorchester, the Ritz, the Grand hotel, Brighton, etc (but don’t be silly and lowercase Hotel California)

It also says under "the" to use lower case "the"

for newspapers (the Guardian), magazines (the New Statesman), pubs (the Coach and Horses), bands (the Black Eyed Peas, the Not Sensibles, the The), nicknames (the Hulk, the Red Baron), and sports grounds (the Oval).

It's pretty clear from this that "the Royal" is correct by their rules. Indeed "the Royal Hotel" likewise.

Generally the Guardian's style experts are reluctant to use many capitals, and some style guides suggest more. But you make your choice, and follow it.

  • According to the rules you mentioned, it should be "the Royal hotel" . Or does it depend on the writer/speaker's whim?
    – banuyayi
    Nov 4, 2022 at 5:48
  • This does suggest "the Royal" would be fine. However it also suggests "the Royal hotel", which to me is odd if that's the business's name (which is what they'd put on the sign outside...).
    – valoukh
    Nov 4, 2022 at 10:49

You can use whatever you like according to google. Google ngram

enter image description here

  • 1
    The results are not limited to instances mentioned in narratives or non-fiction works, but also include titles of books and the like. Your advice may be sound but the Ngram chart proves nothing, unless you find actual quotes related to the OP's situation. Case in point the article "the" in the royal are found in uppercase and lower case.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 3, 2022 at 21:04
  • Yes it does prove nothing. Only phrase frequencies with lowercase and uppercase combinations. Stuart F has provided a nice answer. You can look at his answer for guidance on styles.
    – banuyayi
    Nov 4, 2022 at 5:45

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