The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

This house would support removing or replacing the word "the" in the English language.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/28/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 874 times Debate No: 69052
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (23)
Votes (2)




Let's do this you freaking "The" lovers.


Debate Round No. 1


According to Wikipedia, the most common word in the English language is "The", by comparison the 5th most common is "and". Why does "and" get it's own symbol (&), and yet "the" is left out?

Here is what the "The" symbol would look like.

The qwerty keyboard has the place for a mysterious 27the letter and it's being clogged up by the & symbol when replacing it with a symbol for "the" would be better, saving secretaries and people writing up debate arguments a ton of time. How many times have you spent typing up 3 letters when this whole time you could've just typed out 1? We need to destroy "the" and replace it with a single letter.

With people being able to text faster, write faster and type faster the productivity of English speaking countries would sky rocket. There is absolutely no excuse to not use the new letter that represents "the".

Follow the below link to help revolutionize how English is spoken please.


Let's first take a look at the resolution.
The first observation is that the resolution specifies that This House, the current house of representatives, would support replacing the word "the". This means that it is the burden of the Pro to prove not that it would beneficial to remove "the", but that the house would support it.
Secondly, it should be noted that the Neg doesn't need to prove anything in this round, simply refuting the Aff's arguments is enough. At the end of the round, a draw would go to the Neg because the house wouldn't change its side because of neutrality.
Finally a definition. replace will be defined as "to take the place of especially as a substitute or successor" [1]

Because of the second observation, my first speech will be a rebuttal instead of an opening case.

Argument 1: "And" is used less and gets its own symbol.
Response 1: Wikipedia cannot necessarily be trusted. My opponent could have easily just gone onto Wikipedia and typed that in on an monitored article.
Response 2: "And" is not actually being replaced by the symbol "&". Looking back to the definition of "and", replacing involves the replacer being the substitute or successor. However, in my opponents own case, "and" is spelled out four times, not including the times it was just being referenced as a word. What this means is that the symbol & is supplementing the word "and", not replacing it. [2]

Argument 2: Increased efficiency of typing and texting.
Response 1: Texting is not any faster with a symbol representing "the". In order to type the symbol "the", one must first click symbols, then click "the", and finally click letters. This is the same number of keys as it takes to just type "the" and it is slower than swipe texting.
Response 2: Efficiency would not be improved for typing either. If you look to my second response to argument 1, my opponent used the word "and" many times in his case instead of the symbol. This means two things. First, the symbol would be nonunique to the Aff as no replacing is occurring. Second, efficiency won't go up if the symbol is not used.
Response 3: Typing "the" doesn't actually take that much time. The average speed is 41WPM, or 2/3 words per second [3]. However, "the" is not the average length word. The average length of a word in the English language is just over 8 characters, or to be generous, double the length of "the" [4]. This means that in three seconds, the average person can type "the" four times. Replacing a word that doesn't actually take time to type wouldn't improve efficiency.

Argument 3: The unproven.
My opponent has not yet proved one necessary fact for his case. He has no evidence whatsoever that the house would support this. Look back to observation 1, proving that replacing the word "the" would be beneficial cannot alone win the round for the Aff. My opponent must prove that the house would support his act in order for my opponent to win.

The reasons to vote Neg are as follows:
1: My opponent has shown no proof of the house's willingness to support this line of action
2: My opponents desire for a symbol to be used would supplement, not replace, the word "the". For that reason, the argument is nonunique to the Aff. In a world without anything replacing "the", the symbol can exist. This means that my opponent's entire "&" argument is invalid.

Debate Round No. 2


I'd like to thank my opponent for a fast his prompt response and appreciate his arguments.


In a debate resolution the term "this house" is a traditional way to state a resolution. What it means is the school a person represents, the debate team or in this instance me personally would advocate for removing or replacing the word "The". If I show the benefits of replacing the word "the", outweighs the negative than I win this debate.

I think my opponent may be confusing the term "this house", with "the house".

According to the Edeb8 debate glossary of terms;


A traditional feature of each motion, 'the house' is also in most debates up for the proposition to define as the relevant actor in the debate e.g. 'by this house we mean the British Government', 'Western Liberal Democracies', 'the average, reasonable person'."


Wikipedia is Actually a pretty reliable source and gets More flak than what it should a recent study has shown that it's just as reliable as The Encyclopedia Brittanica.

The journal nature points out that Wikipedia is a reliable Source. According to CNET news Reporting on the journal's findings.

"For its study, Nature chose articles from both sites in a wide range of topics and sent them to what it called "relevant" field experts for peer review. The experts then compared the competing articles--one from each site on a given topic--side by side, but were not told which article came from which site. Nature got back 42 usable reviews from its field of experts.
In the end, the journal found just eight serious errors, such as general misunderstandings of vital concepts, in the articles. Of those, four came from each site. They did, however, discover a series of factual errors, omissions or misleading statements. All told, Wikipedia had 162 such problems, while Britannica had 123.

That averages out to 2.92 mistakes per article for Britannica and 3.86 for Wikipedia.
"An expert-led investigation carried out by Nature--the first to use peer review to compare Wikipedia and Britannica's coverage of science," the journal wrote, "suggests that such high-profile examples (like the Seigenthaler and Curry situations) are the exception rather than the rule."

Also, here is where Wikipedia cites their information, so you may want to actually check the citations before missing an article out of hand.


Swipe isn't for everyone. The people that use swipe will no doubt, Not need to worry about using It or the symbol will automatically pop up when they press TH. So this still saves a lot of people that don't use swipe a lot of time, And not all people like swipe.


I use the and symbol when taking notes in class it saves me a ton of time and ever since I learned about the "the" symbol, I use it a lot in class,taking notes as well. This symbol will save students a ton of time.

On regular keyboards you just use the shift key, so it will save a ton of time on regular keyboards, and on phone keyboards it can save a bunch of time, depending on if the alternate symbols disappear when you press an alternate one, if it's on the main keyboard and a number of other factors.

The symbol at the very least would be swapped out with the & symbol on the keyboard and certainly be more useful than that thing.


At worst the "The" symbol is harmless and at least replaces the & symbol on a keyboard. So even at it's worse, it's still an improvement because it's a more frequently used word. At it's best it save a ton of time, increasing overall productivity in society and cumulatively saves a ton of time.


Even if my opponent wins every argument except for one, they lose this round. This argument is the unrefuted response 2 to my opponents first argument. The symbol "&" does not actually replace the word "and"! The symbol my opponent is advocating for would be a mere supplementation of the word "the", not a replacement. For this reason, every benefit of adding the "the" symbol to our keyboards is a benefit accessible without replacing the word "the". This argument has been dropped and I am extending it as my opponent will need to refute it in order to win.

This House:
This point no longer possesses relevance in this debate. Whoever needs to accept the benefits of replacing the word "the" doesn't matter because my opponent has shown no replacement for the word "the".


This argument (that and is used less) both doesn't matter and doesn't work.
Doesn't work: My opponent has only shown that the word "and" is typed less than the word "the", not that the symbol "&" would be used less than the symbol for the.
Doesn't matter: Even if "&" was used less than the symbol for "the", it would matter because the symbol for "the" is not replacing the word "the".


This argument also loses relevance. Whether a symbol could speed up typing or not, it is not replacing the word "the", simply supplements it.

Saves time:

This benefit is nonunique to the Aff because the "the" symbol doesn't actually replace the word "the".

There is only one voting point in this debate at this point: The symbol for "the" isn't replacing the word "the". It doesn't matter whether or not the symbol for "the" would be beneficial. My opponent has the burden of proving that what he is advocating for actually meets the resolution, and he has not yet proven his burden.
Debate Round No. 3


I'm very short on time, but none of that matters, as I've clearly won this debate. Con drops all arguments and basically now agrees that replacing the word "The" with the symbol I suggested would save a ton of time in a lot of different settings and in fact be a time saver for most people.

Con can not add arguments in the last round so as it stands the impact calculus is as follows:

Replacing the word "The" with a symbol would be a huge time saver for most people, but a lot of people would use it to compliment the word as opposed to replacing it.

So taking assuming all my opponent's arguments are true and crediting me with all the dropped ones about it being a time saver, we can safely say. Replacing the word "The" with the suggested symbol in the English language would be beneficial for most people.

That is why this house supports replacing the word "The" and it's why you should vote Pro.

Thanks to my opponent for accepting this debate. Thank you judges for voting for me and I wish my opponent better luck next time.


My opponent has completely dropped one point: the symbol would not actually replace the word "the".

Using the "the" symbol may be beneficial to typing speed. That doesn't matter. Since my opponent failed to meet his burden of proof by failing to provide a symbol that would actually replace the word "the", he has lost this debate.

For the 4 judging points in this round, I'll explain how each of them should be judged.
Sources: Both sides used a variety of reliable enough sources.
Conduct: By ending his speech with "wish my opponent better luck next time.", my opponent has lost conduct due to offensive remarks,
Spelling and grammar: There was no reason big enough to give this point to either side.
Argument: As the Aff could not prove that the word "the" would actually be removed or replaced, he did not meet his burden and thus lost the argument.

Thank you to my opponent for setting up this debate. Thank you to whoever puts the time and effort in to make a fair decision.

Vote Neg!
Debate Round No. 4
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Fvck you "the" sucks and I've already started replacing it in a lot of instances. It is only a matter of time before I completely wipe it from the face of the (lol) planet.
Posted by Beginner 1 year ago
The resolution should've been about implementing a symbol for the word "the", and not about replacing the word "the". The resolution is the only obstacle to the argument that the pro made the in the first round, which actually makes a lot of sense. The. Damn I love that word. XD
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
You don't understand what I'm saying. That's fine. I just have to work on my communication skills.
Posted by KonstanBen 1 year ago
Since the word "the" would still be used, it's not a replacement.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
I support replacing it because it would save time. Sure it may supplement it but how it would likely be used is irrelevant. The question is overall are we better off replacing it and I think once and impact calculus is done (and I saved the judges the trouble of doing it in the final round), you'll see that we're better off replacing it than keeping the status quo.
Posted by KonstanBen 1 year ago
If you had written: this house would support supplementing the word "the", then sure, you win. However, since it says remove or replace, you must show that the word "the" is being removed or replace instead of merely supplemented.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
That's what I meant by it. I don't see how it can be interpreted any differently than that.
Posted by KonstanBen 1 year ago
That's not what the resolution says :)
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
I thought all I had to show was that overall it's more advantageous to swap the word out
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Jethro, that's nice that you have an opinion but this is a debate not a poll.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by TN05 1 year ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro was undoubtably able to establish a convincing argument for a 'the' symbol. However, this does not satisfy the resolution, which requires him to establish a convincing reason to remove or replace the word 'the' altogether. Because of this, Con has a fairly clear victory.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 1 year ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: The decision's pretty straightforward: I don't see Pro replacing or removing "the" from the English language, even with his case. He's providing a new symbol that may, at some point in the future, become more commonly used than the word "the," but I don't see it being argued how it's likely to, or will, replace the word itself across the entirety of the English language. Just a note on ?This House?: in this case, it should have been defined as ?the readers.? The reason why is that defining it as yourself, as Pro did, is just abusive. If you would do something, Con can't disprove that, unless you're somehow incapable of accomplishing the task, which wouldn't be a problem here. Admittedly, the context of that definition from Pro isn't abusive, but you'll want to take care on this in the future. Also, I don't buy defining it as the ?House of Representatives,? that's taking some liberties from Con. Oh, and because I have extra space, I have to do this: the the the the the the the the the