Can we use the article 'the' before the name (Martin) in the below sentence? Generally, we do not use article before the person's name.

"Please provide the Martin's signature."

  • 2
    Why would you want to do that?
    – KillingTime
    May 14, 2021 at 11:56
  • 2
    If it's acceptable in Indian English, it's might be appropriate. In British or American English it is not. I'd place the person's title in front of the surname (last name), e.g Please provide us with Mr _____'s signature The receiver of the message, I presume is not Mr Martin.
    – Mari-Lou A
    May 14, 2021 at 12:20
  • 2
    @ShivnathKashyap But why do you need to mention this line in a letter? Where did you get the idea for, or the idea that, you need to use the article there? Have you seen it used somewhere else? What’s the background here?
    – Dan Bron
    May 14, 2021 at 13:04
  • 1
    An article (the or a) can't be used before the actual proper noun Martin. But you can validly refer to the signature of Martin['s], or a signature of Mr Smith['s], for example. May 14, 2021 at 14:13
  • 2
    "He wants some change in his profile." Just say "Please provide Mr Martin's signature." May 14, 2021 at 18:44

3 Answers 3


No, not generally.

There are cases where a noun might be the same as someone's name where this usage may appear (without context) to be confusing.


Please provide Baker's signature

Would be valid if the person's surname was "Baker"


Please provide the Baker's signature

Would be valid if the person's profession was a Baker.

  • 2
    And then it would probably not be capitalized (profession vs surname).
    – Davo
    May 14, 2021 at 12:43
  • 3
    Except that you wouldn't use a capital B for the baker profession.
    – L. Scott Johnson
    May 14, 2021 at 12:44

At least, not in the context you have provided. There is an idiomatic usage for putting "the" before a person's name, but it is usually used to clarify you are speaking about a specific person with that name.

For example, I was on a flight one time and struck up a conversation with an elderly couple. I learned during the course of the conversation that their last name was Buffett. At one point I asked them why they were travelling and they said that they were travelling to see their son James.

"James.." I replied. "Wait, James as in Jimmy? As in the Jimmy Buffett?!"

"We just call him James," the woman responded.

1Disclaimer: While the story is true, it was over 20 years ago, so it's possible I got some of the details wrong.

  • Another upvote for a fine story, anyhow! May 14, 2021 at 13:58

If using the definite article in front of a person's name is acceptable in Indian English, it might be appropriate. But in British or American English it is not, it should be:

Please provide Martin's signature.

It's important to note that Martin is both a common first name and family name. The sentence could create misunderstanding: is the author of the request on first-name terms or is Martin referring to a Mr, Miss or Ms Martin?

If I needed to be more polite and formal, I'd use the person's title in front of their surname (last name), e.g.

Please provide us with Dr./ Mr. / Ms. Martin's signature.

I presume the receiver of the message is not the Mr or Ms Martin. (That last sentence, where the is stressed, is perfectly grammatical because I am asking whether it is the same person.)

  • I tried looking in the archives for posts where the definite article is used for effect in front of people's names but gave up. I simply don't have the time, but I know that post exists...somewhere, I'm sure...at least... I think so.
    – Mari-Lou A
    May 14, 2021 at 12:42
  • If a name is famous, you might say "You met the Isabelle Huppert?" 'the' emphasised and pronounced "thee", and be answered, "No, the Isabelle Huppert who is a nurse at my local hospital". May 14, 2021 at 13:19
  • Update: OP says this usage is not licensed in IndE either.
    – Dan Bron
    May 14, 2021 at 20:27

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