Definite article the

  1. We use the with a singular or plural noun when we talk about something for the second time:

I bought a jacket and a scarf yesterday.

The jacket’s blue and the scarf’s grey.

These are my cassettes and DVDs. The cassettes are old, but the DVDs are new.

  1. We use the when it is clear for listener/speaker which thing we mean because there is only one:

Jon’s in the kitchen.

Feed the cat.

Switch off the lights.

Park the car.

Give me the knife on the table.

  1. Places we go:

I go to the bank every month.

I go to the butcher’s to buy some meat.

They went to the school to collect their kids.

I often go to the cinema but I haven’t been to the theater for ages.

I was in the college once.

I visited him in the prison.

  1. Ordinal numbers, the first, the millions, the hundreds, the rest:

It’s the first bike I’ve ever owned!

The first day when we were on holiday was sunny.

The value of the contraband was in the millions.

These platforms provide new hope for the millions of women and children.

Most of the hundreds of companies belonged to private individuals.

I’d like to spend the rest of my life with you.

  1. Superlatives:

Our team won the most games this year.

That’s the worst excuse I’ve ever heard!

The Chicago Café makes the very best pizza in town. You should try it.

John ‘Disscussion’ blog. What’s the most important thing in your life?

What is the longest river in the world?

The highest mountain in the Alps is Mont Blanc.

  1. Unique (I’m special):

We looked up at the moon.

What is the longest river in the world?

The highest mountain in the Alps is Mont Blanc.

I just had to leave the earth’s atmosphere.

You must return to me before the sun sets.

But I don’t think the queen would agree.

You can find their description in the Internet.

He said the government watching us.

  1. We use the + adjective (without noun) to talk about groups of people, especially:

Do you think the rich should pay more taxes to help the poor?

The homeless need more help from the government.

However, not all the unemployed persons address themselves to this institution.

The epidemic incapacitates people at the ages when they are most needed for the support of the young and the elderly.

  1. The same, the one, the other, the last:

Both are guilty of the same offence.

Your pullover is the same color as mine.

These two photographs are the same.

You’ve been the one running this program.

Actually, Klaus is the one that saved me tonight.

Except the one person she would expect least.

Undermining either objective may affect the realization of the other.

Wherever one went, the other would always follow.

But the boy driving the other car is innocent.

In the last two decades, Tuvalu has steadily matured politically and economically.

Maybe I spent the last six years thinking about it.

The last thing I need to do is wash my head.

That’s the last time I ask you for any help.

  1. Names:

oceans: the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic (Ocean), the Indian Ocean;

seas: the Mediterranean, the Read Sea, the Caribbean Sea, the Caspian Sea;

rivers: the Nile, the (River) Amazon, the (River) Thames, the Rhine, the Volga;

canals: the Channel (between France and Britain), the Suez Canal,

deserts: the Gobi Desert, the Sahara (Desert), the Atacama Desert, the Karakum Desert.

We use the with plural names of people and places:

people: the Taylors (= the Taylor family), the Johnsons, the Simpsons;

countries: the Netherlands, the Philippines;

group of islands: the Canaries / the Canary Islands, the Bahamas,

the British Isles;

mountain ranges: the Rocky Mountains / the Rockies, the Andes, the Alps.

We use the in names with ‘Republic’, ‘Kingdom’, ‘States’, ‘Federation’:

the Republic of KZ, the Dominican Republic, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the Russian Federation.

These places usually have names with the:

hotels/restaurants/pubs: the Station Hotel, the Bombay Restaurant,

the Red Lion (pub);

theatres/cinemas: the Palace Theatre, the Odeon Cinema;

museums/galleries: the British Museum, the Tale Gallery;

other buildings: the Empire State Building, the Festival Hall, the White House;

newspapers: the Washington Post, the Financial Times;

organisations: the European Community, the BBC (= the British Broadcasting Corporation).

Names with …of… usually have the: the Bank of England, the Tower of London, the Great Wall of China, the University of London, the Gulf of Mexico.

  1. Musical instruments:

Can you play the guitar?

The piano is my favorite instrument.

I want to learn to play the drums, but my parents won’t let me.

  1. Parts of the world:

North/nothern etc.:

the north of France but northern France ( without ‘the’ );

the south-east of Spain but south-eastern Spain ( without ‘the’ );

Sweden in northern Europe but Spain in the south.


the Middle East, the Far East, the North Pole, the South Pole.

  1. You can use the with some nationality adjectives to mean ‘the people of that country’:

The French are famous for their food. (= the people of France)

Why do the English think they are so wonderful? (= the people of England)

the Spanish       the Dutch      the British   the Irish       the Welsh

Note that the French / the English etc. are plural in meaning.

You can not say ‘a French / an English’.

You have to say ‘a Frenchman / an Englishwoman’ etc.

You can also use the + nationality words ending –ese:

The Chinese The Sudanese

The Chinese invented printing.

These words can also be singular a Japanese, a Sudanese.

Also: the Swiss / a Swiss (plural or singular).

With other nationalities, the plural noun ends in –s:

an Italian — (the) Italians, a Mexican — (the) Mexicans, a Scot — (the) Scots,

a Turk — (the) Turks.

13.  We use the if we are talking about a specific thing:

Susan’s reading the new book by William Bradley.

(We are talking about one specific book.)

We’re going to see the play called The Mausetrap.