Usage and Grammar

Q. Do I need “the” before “hoi polloi”? I know that hoi means “the” in Greek, so a second “the” would seem redundant.

A. One of the great privileges of being American is that we get to mangle other languages in adopting them. If we can order “a side of au jus” with a sandwich, I guess we can refer to “the hoi polloi,” no? In any case, it’s standard English to use the article.