Do you ever find yourself impatiently typing out all three letters in the word the, over and over again? Or maybe you're just tired of and and its ampersand hogging all of the typographical shorthand. Well, surprisingly — shockingly, even — you are not the only one.
Australian restauranteur and the activist Paul Mathis has just introduced Ћ, a combination of a capital T and lowercase h. Pronounced th, the new symbol would stand in for the, elevating the word to the level of its haughty, &-flaunting cousin and. In addition to designing and promoting the symbol Mathis has introduced several new keyboard apps featuring Ћ, available in the Google Play store. (Apple denied them in the App Store.)
This may very well be the first time someone has decided to advocate on behalf of the. Linguist and language columnist Ben Zimmer told The Atlantic Wire that, while he could think of similar campaigns to popularize ‽ (aka the interrobang, that very unpopular combination of question mark and exclamation point) as well as marks to denote sarcasm, no one has ever tried to shorten the before. And probably for good reason. "I'm not sure that this is something that people are crying out for," Zimmer told us in a phone interview Friday. "People seem to be just fine using the word the."