I know that "the" should not be used with people's names.

But what about when refering to mutiple people with the same name in one place? Like "the Thomas" for example ? I've heard this phrase in our remote office.

Also can you say "The Thomas agrees with the new updates" ? If yes, should the verb agree be singular or plural?

  • In principle, if there are two people called Thomas in the office you could refer to them as the Thomases. But since Thomas is usually a forename rather than a surname, that would be very unusual (and would probably only occur as a facetious usage). Unlike, say, the Smiths - which is not uncommon, but would normally only be used to refer to multiple people who have the same name because they're related / married / part of a family unit. So I don't think this question meaningfully reflects a "real-world problem". Feb 7, 2020 at 17:28
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    For example... We have two Thomases, the Thomas in Accounts Payable and the Thomas in Accounts Receivable. Thomas AP and Thomas AR, never the twain shall meet.
    – KannE
    Feb 7, 2020 at 17:56
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    Or we have two Smiths – Peter Smith and Thomas Smith, and when someone who refers to Smith is asked "which one?" they might reply "the Thomas." Another possibility is that a chain store has a job position in every store who is expert in one thing and advises customers, and is always called "Thomas" by convention. A customer might ask "where is the Thomas?" meaning the role, not the individual. Feb 7, 2020 at 18:18
  • @WeatherVane Highly convoluted examples! "Which Smith? - Thomas [Smith]." "Thomas" as a synonym for "subject matter expert" is a Humpty Dumptyism.
    – CJ Dennis
    Feb 8, 2020 at 0:38

1 Answer 1


We don't normally use an article with people's names. There may be some rare exceptions to this.

When referring to a well-known person, or a person with the same name as a well-known person.

I just met Donald Trump! Of course it wasn't the Donald Trump. But my server at Macdonalds had the same name as the President.

When clarifying which of two people with the same name.

Get this form signed by David. — Which David? Do you mean the David in HR or the David in the accounts department?

It may be possible, in your situation to use "the", but this would be a very rare and slightly jokey situation. For example, in the company there are three senior programmers. They are all called Susan (this is a coincidence). People in the company now talk about "The Susans" to mean "the three senior programmers":

Rebasing the project on a server/client model could be a lot of work, but it might be worth it. Talk to "the Susans" and get their opinion and approval before continuing.

This is possible but very rare. It needs there to be several people with the same name, who form a natural group apart from having the same name. It would be plural in this very rare situation.

More common is to refer to a family as, for example, the Lloyds. It means the same as "The Lloyd family".

I'm going to visit the Lloyds this weekend; it's Mark Lloyd's birthday.

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