How To Use Definite Article: What Are The 10 uses of The?


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 (indefinite articles) and the (definite article). What is definite article and what do you mean by definite article?

The definite article in English is ‘the’. ‘The’ is called definite article because it refers to a particular thing or person. That is, the definite article is used to describe a specific noun.

Use of The Article ‘The’ (Definite Article Examples)

  • The is used with singular nouns. 

I want the tablet not the laptop. (singular)

  • The goes with plural nouns.

I want the tablets. (plural)

  • The definite article the is used before uncountable nouns.

I need the money I lent you. (uncountable noun)

How to Use The Definite Article

What are the 10 uses of the definite article?

definite article

Here are over 10 uses of the:

  • 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.

  • The definite article is used before nouns that are unique:

The sun       

 → The moon         

 → The Earth

→  The Statue of Liberty

→  The Eiffel Tower

  • The is used before names of musical instruments:

→ He plays the piano.           

→  Tom plays the drums.

  • The article the is used with superlative:

→ 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)…

  • The is used with the names of certain countries:

→ The United States         

→ The United Kingdom

The Netherlands             

 → The Czech Republic …

  • We use the with the names of oceans, seas, and rivers:

The Atlantic                     

→ The red sea               

The Mississippi

  • We use the 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.

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