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The phrase "That man/woman" is often used by a person (usually of the opposite sex) when they are angry with a person and the context is aimed at the person who is out of favour. The use of this terminology is thus associated with, what most of the people I know would consider, a derogative meaning.

I personally have been taught that to use That/The+Gender+Name{(person),i.e. proper nouns associated with people}, is rude or even insulting but at the very least condescending. @LawrenceC also states in his answer to the question "When can 'the' be used before a name?"

You don't use the before names or proper nouns that identify a person.

If you do this with a proper name it sounds like you are trying to depersonalize someone (i.e. consider them a mere thing) and can be considered rude, condescending, and awkward.


My question is two fold. "What is the origin of this implication". and Is the implication the same in different regions in the UK and also in US English.

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  • Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    Sep 4, 2021 at 11:27
  • @ Community I have specified my question quite clearly.
    – Brad
    Sep 4, 2021 at 11:28
  • I don't understand LawrenceC's comment. Are you asking about things like saying "The Thomas is..."? I would not say using the definite article with a proper name is rude or condescending, it just isn't something we do. There is one way in which we do it, when we say something like "The Susan that I know wouldn't do that" or "The Bob who left college was very different from the Bob who entered", but there is nothing rude or condescending about those uses.
    – stangdon
    Sep 4, 2021 at 12:12
  • @stangdon No you have missed out an important component Gender used in my question but not by LawrenceC's comment. That boy Thomas.... would not be associated with the kind of examples you have given.
    – Brad
    Sep 4, 2021 at 12:22
  • (Lawrence's comment is here. I'm familiar with that Thomas used in a derogatory way, but not the Thomas. Sep 4, 2021 at 12:46

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