Date: Thu, 7 May 1998 11:59:15 -0400
From: Robert Ness

A student of mine writes the following;"She is one of, if not thee main
character in the novel." The mispelling of the definite pronoun arises
from its stressed pronounciation, right? What do you make of this? Is the
stressed THE a survival of the Old English instrumental? I seem to recall
that the slightly stressed forms in "the sooner, the better" are similarly
explained, though I cannot imagine what instrumentality is involved.