I love the definite article, otherwise known as ‘the’. This is not a post about the ’80’s electronic band of the same name as the blog post title, it’s about the importance of the word the.

Some languages do without a definite article, like Russian. What an awful waste of possibilities! Like having one hand tied behind your back.

When I was in my mid-teens and studying ancient Greek, I remember disagreeing with a writer on Greek tragedies. He argued that the ‘the’ was a small, unnecessary word that didn’t deserve to grace some of the greatest plays of all time, like Agamemnon or Persai. They deserved to stand on their own, he said. It’s one of the earliest times I can remember where I displayed to myself a developing critical faculty, that I didn’t simply believe everything I was told or read from learned people.

For me the the was grand, majestic even. ‘The Agamemnon’ sounded so much more substantial than leaving it to its own devices, naked without its accompanying defining word. Agamemnon, meh!

You’ve probably noticed, if you’ve read a few of my posts, that many of them have titles starting with the the. It’s not called a definite article for nothing. ‘The’ defines what you’re talking about, gives it focus. It’s not a something, it’s the something.