JUST when did the (grammatically known as the ‘definite article’) start getting above its station?
The circumstances when a capital T should be bestowed on this little workhorse of the English language are few:
• When it appears at the beginning of a sentence.
• When it is part of a title of a play, book, film, song, show etc.
So why do you now see the definite article with a capital T used mid-sentence willy nilly?
With pub names: We met at The Dog and Duck for a pint.
With organisations: Members of The National Trust have had their say on planning reforms.
With official reports: The circumstances were examined in The Hutton Report.
With institutions: Policies at The Bank of England are currently subject to review.
And even with individuals (albeit important ones): It was a fitting tribute to The Queen.
More and more businesses also appear to be annexing the definite article, making it part of their name and (rather grandly) insisting that it bears a capital letter.
The definite article is used exclusively to indicate specificity and uniqueness, one of a kind.
As a warm-up act for the noun it precedes it does its job perfectly well. But it does not deserve to share star billing.