The weird obsession of Ohio State University

Anyone who lives in Ohio will immediately recognize the solecism I committed in the title of this blog post. The university insists that it be referred to as The Ohio State University and woe unto anyone who merely calls it Ohio State University. Why this obsession I don’t know. Perhaps it has something to do with wanting to be seen as unique is some way. All I know is that it causes endless amusement and trolling by people who deliberately drop the ‘the’ like I did above. It is not unusual for people to sarcastically place heavy emphasis on the word ‘the’.

But Cory Doctorow says that the university has turned that obsession up to 11 by filing a trademark application for the word ‘THE”. You can read more about it here.

Good luck with that.


  1. Ridana says

    And this is why I never respond to their alumni fundraising letters. smh It figures that it’s football driving this. It’s the only reason the place exists. All that academic stuff is just window dressing.

    I don’t think I’ve ever called it The Ohio State University. It’s just ‘hiya State or OSU.

  2. Matt G says

    I hope they’re spending money on this project -- I’d hate to think they were wasting it on education or anything.

  3. says

    Do they insist that “the” is kept also in translations of their name into other languages? Just asking because if so, I am not allowed to talk about the university in any Slavic language.

    As a consequence i do often forget “the” and “a” when writing in english because both of those words make no intuitive sense to me whatsoever.

  4. blf says

    Shouldn’t that be (well, become), The™ University at™ Buffalo?

    Perhaps it’s time to return to common usage the™ alternative spelling ye (pronounced the™ same). Or if you really want to avoid problems, the™ Middle English spelling þe.

  5. jrkrideau says

    @ 4 Charly
    As a consequence i do often forget “the” and “a” when writing in english because both of those words make no intuitive sense to me whatsoever.

    I studied Latin and took a couple of courses in Russian. As a native English speaker it took me a long time to grasp that one could not say “the man” or “a cat”.

    It seems normal now and in the very little Russian I remember I would never think of trying to use something like “the” but I understand just about exactly what you mean, but coming from the other side. The lack of “the” and “a” was very confusing.

    It could be worse, I believe in Arabic even the adjectives get a “the” or an “a”.

  6. says

    @Charly, No. 4 and jrkrideau, No. 7…

    Years ago as an undergrad in one Dr. David Williams’ PoliSci classes, he shared the story with us about how the Russians tied up one of the early SALT talks by constantly insisting that all definite articles be made indefinite in the treaty language.

    Of course, they were takin’ the piss because the American negotiators were too stupid/ignorant to know that Russian had neither so any change, either way, was meaningless.


  7. mnb0 says

    ” filing a trademark application for the word ‘THE”.
    No, no, we can’t have that. The word “THE” is the exclusive right of my native country THE Netherlands.
    That’s to say, as far as English, French and German are concerned. The country’s name is singular in Dutch, Frisian, West Low German and Papiamento -- the four most important languages in Nederland, Nederlân, Neederland and Ulanda.
    Ohio State University first should adapt the official English name for this country.

  8. says

    After Edmonton was held hostage for a downtown sports arena, the Oilers organization and developers got all into developing around there and even came up with a very tediously bland corporate committee name for the area, “The Ice District”. The press release information was very insistent that it’s “THE Ice District.”

    If I wasn’t already refusing to use that ridiculous name for the area I would be damned sure to never put the “the” in it.

  9. says

    Overhyped State is more like it (no “the”). This is as inane as Fine Brothers trying to copyright “react”. They ended up looking like clowns, and so will Overhyped State.

    As a commenter on Joe My God noted, “nobody cares except the football fans”. And they don’t count.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *