Mastering the use of the definite article “the”.

Do you struggle to use properly definitive articles? I clearly do. Rules are one thing, mastering them another. There are no shortcuts! It is time to dig into the grammar and to focus on detecting the main reasons of why to use or not to use the article.

Winning the battle with articles.

  • What is an article? An article is a word that modifies a noun.
  • How many types of articles are? In English, there are two different types of articles:
    • the definite article (the). The definite article is used when we speak about something specific or something that has already been mentioned in the conversation.
    • the indefinite article (a/an). The indefinite article is used when we speak about something for the first time, or something non-specific.

When to use “The”

  1. Use the to refer to something which has already been mentioned.
  2. Clauses introduced by only.  You are the only person he will listen to.
  3. Decades. The seventies.
  4. Groups of people: The poor. The rich. The disable.
  5. System or serviceHow long does it take on the train?

Proper Nouns:

  1. Names of countries and continents whose names include words like kingdomstates or republic or which have plural nouns as their names. The UK. The Netherlands.
  2. Breakfast, lunch and dinner specific meal. We didn’t like the dinner.
  3. Uncountable nouns specific object. I like the almond milk.
  4. Compass directions following a preposition or designating a definite region. The South is hotter than the North. He looked to the north. 
  5. Oceans, seas, rivers, and canals always with bodies of water. The Amazon.
  6. Mountain ranges. The Himalayas.
  7. Groups of islands. The Bahamas.
  8. Names with of-phrase. The length of the swimming pool.
  9. Names of unique objects or people Only one exists. One of a kind. The Internet.
  10. Jobs and professions *Indefinite article a/an. A Lawyer.
  11. Surnames. The Smiths.
  12. Musical instruments: Susan is learning to play the piano.
  13. Newspapers. The Times.
  14. Buildings or works of art. The Empire State Building.
  15. Hotelspubs and restaurants.  The Ritz Hotel.

When not to use “The”

  1. Names of countries and continents. England.
  2. Summits of Mountains, continent or towns. Mount Everest.
  3. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. General meal. I do not eat breakfast.
  4. Uncountable nouns. General wordsI like milk.
  5. Compass directions follow a verb. The team went east.
  6. Lakes. Lake Superior.
  7. Single Islands.  Jamaica.
  8. Parks. Everglades National Park.
  9. Streets. on the corner of 59th Street 

Recommended video!

Three principles to use articles better.

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