How to use definite article: 13 most important uses with clear examples
What is an article? Generally, an article is a word that modifies a noun. It functions like an adjective. There are three articles in English grammar, namely a, an and the. In this lesson, the focus will be on the uses of the definite article the.
The definite article the is used:
- When the noun is mentioned for a second time or is already known.
→ I have a cat and a dog. The cat’s name is Lucy and the dog’s name is Rex.
→ He has a car and a bicycle. The car is very expensive.
- With nouns that are unique:
→ The sun
→ The moon
→ The Earth
→ The Statue of Liberty
→ The Eiffel Tower
- With names of musical instruments:
→ He plays the piano.
→ Tom plays the drums.
- With superlatives:
→ Nancy is the best friend I have ever had.
→ What is the tallest building in the world?
- With morning, afternoon, evening:
→In the morning/afternoon/evening.
- To talk about something specific:
→ we went to the café which is next to the bank.
→ I want the red jacket, not the black one.
- With adjectives used as nouns to refer to a group of people:
→ The elderly (= old people)
→ The sick (= sick people)
→ The homeless (= people who have no home)
→ The rich (= rich people)
→ The young (= young people)…
- With the names of certain countries:
→ The United States
→ The United Kingdom
→ The Netherlands
→ The Czech Republic …
- With the names of oceans, seas, and rivers:
→ The Atlantic
→ The red sea
→ The Mississippi
- With the names of hotels, theatres, museums, and newspapers:
→ The Hilton
→ The Sheraton
→ The National Theatre
→ The Royal Theatre
→ The Natural History Museum
→ The Times
→ The Newsweek…
- The article the is used when a phrase, an adjective, or a clause describing the noun clarifies or restricts its identity.
→ Thanks a lot for the pieces of advice you gave me yesterday.
→ The man wearing a red cap is a tennis player.
→ The student sitting at the back of the classroom is excellent.
- With names of families:
→ The Hamiltons
→ The Browns
→ The Clarks
- With titles:
→ The Prince
→ The Princess
→ The Queen
You may be interested in the uses of the indefinite articles a or an. Click here to learn when to use them.