Definite article

Definition: A member of the class of "determiners" that restricts or particularizes a noun, it is used to restrict the meaning of a noun to make it refer to something that is known by both the speaker or writer and the listener or reader. Articles in English are invariable. That is, they do not change according to the gender or number of the noun they refer to. "The" is the definite article is English.

For example:

  • He's gone to the shops.
    * Here the listener knows which shops I mean

Notes:

You use "the" when you know that the listener knows or can work out what particular person/thing you are talking about.

For example:

  • The apple you ate was rotten.
  • Did you lock the car?

You should also use "the" when you have already mentioned the thing you are talking about.

For example:

  • She's got two children; a girl and a boy. The girl's eight and the boy's fourteen.
  • An elephant and a mouse fell in love. The mouse loved the elephant's long trunk, andthe elephant loved the mouse's tiny nose.

We use the to talk about geographical points on the globe.

For example:

  • the North Pole, the equator.

We use the to talk about rivers, oceans and seas.

For example:

  • the Nile, the Pacific, the English channel

We also use the before certain nouns when we know there is only one of a particular thing.

For example:

  • the rain, the sun, the wind, the world, the earth, the White House etc..

It can be used to refer to a group.

For example:

  • the Japanese, the old
  • The car has changed our way of living.

Before superlatives and ordinal numbers.

For example:

  • the highest building, the first page, the last chapter.

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

For example:

  • The man who wrote this book is famous.
  • My house is the one with a blue door.

With decades, or groups of years.

For example:

  • He grew up in the seventies



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