In the TV series, Sherlock - Season 2 Episode 1 titled 'A Scandal in Belgravia', at the very end of that episode Sherlock would regain his memories happened in Karachi. Then he will say "The Woman" with thaa sound for the word 'The'. And again for the second time he repeats "The Woman". But this time its with thee sound for the word 'The'.

I know that according to English grammar and vocabulary, 'the' before a word can be pronounced with two sounds thaa and thee. And I also know that these pronunciations thaa and thee will be enunciated before consonant sounds and vowel sounds respectively. Sherlock is good with his English vocabulary as it was very clearly explained the previous episode (S01E03).

But why did Sherlock pronounce 'The' in "The Woman" with thee sound, even though it is followed by a consonant. Does that mean something? Or am I weak with English vocabulary. Clear me out.

  • 4
    He's simply emphasising the "the" the second time, to suggest that she is the only one (or the only one that matters). Changing from "uh" the to "thee" the is one of the ways of doing that. I can write a fuller answer on this, but it's kind of off-topic here as it's really about English rather than about Sherlock, so I recommend you ask on English language learners. Dec 26, 2014 at 18:07
  • 3
    Its just an emphasis!!
    – Dredd
    Dec 26, 2014 at 18:20
  • 5
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about Use of English as a Language
    – CGCampbell
    Dec 27, 2014 at 22:43
  • 1
    I agree with @CGCampbell. Also, AFAIK, there is no rule as to when to say "thee" vs. "thuh". They can be used interchangeably regardless of the word that follows.
    – DA.
    Jan 30, 2015 at 22:23

1 Answer 1


Here is how the very first short story in Adventures of Sherlock holmes - The Scandal in bohemia starts

To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex.

and here is how that story ends

And when he speaks of Irene Adler, or when he refers to her photograph, it is always under the honorable title of the woman.

As for your question I believe the stress Sherlock makes when he is pronouncing that might be a simple homage to the actual story and to highlight his fondness for Irene Adler.

  • Your answer is great :). At-least you've answered!
    – cuSK
    Jan 31, 2015 at 14:40
  • 2
    I think the answer could be improved by using italics to emphasize the woman as it would be spoken ("thee woman" per the OP's question). In spoken English one might emphasize "the" in such a way in order to stress the importance or uniqueness of the noun that follows. Apr 11, 2018 at 16:28

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