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Someone Wants to Shorten the Word "The" to One Letter

The Symbol

If you constantly worry that you have wasted too much of your life writing out the full word "the," well, maybe we need to sit down and talk about prioritizing your problems. Also, you are not alone.

Paul Mathis, a restaurateur from Australia, wants to add another letter to the alphabet: One symbol—like a capital T and lowercase h combined, or Ћ—that means "the" in the same way that "&" means "and."

Mathis explains to The Age, "The word 'and' is only the fifth-most used word in English and it has its own symbol, the ampersand. Isn't it time we accorded the same respect to 'the'?"

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Short answer: No, at least in our opinion. Because no one really uses the ampersand all that much and it takes approximately zero seconds longer to write out one more letter (together, capital T and lowercase h take about the same amount of time to write out as separately).

"The main functionality of this is in the texting space," Mathis continues, noting that the letter will be especially useful on Twitter, where using Ћ would save two characters in the 140 limit.

Alternately: You could use abbreviations or just completely spell words wrong (this is Twitter, after all. Not your grad school thesis) to fit the confines of a tweet. That seems like an easier fix than changing the English language.

Mathis has invested anywhere between $38,000 and $75,000—depending on the source—into turning the word "the" into a single letter and has developed an app (available through Google) that adds that letter to your keyboard.

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That's a lot of extra work to not have to type out an "E."

It is not availble in the App Store yet, as Apple explains, "Apps should be engaging and exciting, enabling users to do something they couldn't do before." Like fling birds at pigs.

"Maybe in 500 years' time people will be amazed that there was a time when we didn't use 'th' ... Is this important?" he ponders. "No. Is this going to change the world? Not really. But is it something that might be useful for people? I think so."

The correct answer to your last question, Mathis, was also: No.

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