♔ THE DEFINITE ARTICLE – THE

key_small  Articles in English are invariable. That is to say, they do not change according to the gender or number of the noun they refer to.   THE is called a definite article. "Definite" means "specific". We use THE when we are talking about something which is already known to the listener or which has been previously mentioned, introduced, or discussed.

 

The boy

The woman

The children

    

THE is used:

 

To refer to something which has already been mentioned.

A boy met a girl in the street.

The boy loved the girl at first sight.

 

When both the speaker and listener know what is being talked about, even if it has not been mentioned before.

"Where's the bathroom?"

"It's on the first floor."

 

In sentences or clauses where we define or identify a particular person or object.

The man who wrote this book is famous.

"Which car did you scratch?"

"The red one."

My house is the one with a blue door.

 

To refer to objects we regard as unique.

The sun

The moon

The world

 

Before superlatives and ordinal numbers.

The highest building in town.

The first page of the document.

The last chapter of the book.

 

With adjectives, to refer to a whole group of people.

The Japanese

The old

 

With names of geographical areas, rivers, oceans and seas.

The Caribbean

The Sahara

The Atlantic Ocean

The Thames

 

With names of countries in the plural, mountain ranges,  regions and groups of islands.

The United States of America

The Netherlands

The Highlands

The Rocky Mountains

The Alps

The Middle East

The Canaries

The British Isles

 

With decades, or groups of years.

she grew up in the seventies.

 

With musical instruments*:

Ralph can play the piano and the violin too . *(in American English no article)

 

With hotels, cinemas and theatres.

I often go and see plays at the Garrick Theatre.

I like spending the weekend at the Ritz.

 

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