English definite articles
What are definite articles?
The definite article is used to introduce a noun or noun phrase. It is used to specify something that has already been discussed or is known by all the speakers and makes sense in the context. The only indefinite article is "the".
Definite article "The"
The definite article "the" is one of the most commonly used articles and is the only definite article. It can be used with countable and uncountable nouns as well as singular and plural ones. It is used to refer to concrete objects, names of oceans and seas, mountains and deserts.
Definite articles examples
|When to use definite articles||Examples|
|Use it with proper nouns such as mountains, rivers, islands.||I want to hike the Grand Canyon.|
|Use it with historical periods such as decades.||I truly miss the nineties.|
|Use it to refer to a group of people in general.||History is most dear to the Bulgarians.|
|Use it with the superlative form of adjectives.||Bram is the tallest person I know.|
|Use it with countries whose's name is plural, a republic or a kingdom.||My boyfriend is from the United Kingdom.|
|Use it when it is assumed only of the thing exists.||Where is the kitchen?|
|Use it with landmarks, museums, valuable historical pieces or art.||I have always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower.|
|Use it with family names.||The Gettys were one of the wealthiest families.|
|Use it with things or object that are specific or unique by themselves.||The creator of Reese's did something amazing.|
|Use it when something has already been mentioned.||I accidentally hurt myself. The pain is horrible.|
When not to use articles
You must not use the definite article "the" when using the following type of nouns in your text or speech:
|Colors||Blue, yellow, purple|
|Means of transport||Plane, train, taxi, car|
|Hours||Three o'clock, half past eight|
|Airports, stations||Heathrow, Saint Peters station|
|Names of people or places||Michael, Jessica, New York, Tokyo|
|Sports||Football, volleyball, running|
|Days of the week||Monday, Friday, Sunday|
|Time expressions||Last week, next month, last year|
|Disciplines and subjects||Geography, literature, physics|
|Uncountable things||Oil, copper, rice|
|Countries (unless they are part of the exceptions)||France, Spain|
|Personal titles||Mrs, Ms, Miss|
|Languages||Bulgarian, Italian, Spanish|
|Correct use||Incorrect use|
|I like blue.||I like the blue.|
|Have you ever been to France?||Have you ever been to the France?|
|She loves Geography.||She loves the Geography.|
|I play football every chance I get.||I play the football every chance I get.|
|Our flight goes through Heathrow.||Our flight goes through the Heathrow.|
Articles and adjectives
While the definite article is more commonly placed before a noun it is it not always the case. The definite article can be placed in front of an ajdective that provides more information in an enriching or restricting kind of way.
- He's the tall boy in end of the hall.
- The Spanish are famous for their reputation for talking a lot.
- It is the red apple.
- It is the thick green cable in the drawer.
Difference between indefinite and definite articles
The major difference between an indefinite and definite article lies in exactly which noun they do refer to. With the indefinite article, you could be referring to anything of a certain type. However, with the definite article to you refer to exactly one specific thing of a certain type.
- I have to buy a new phone. - It could be any phone.
- I have to buy the new iPhone. - The phone I buy must exactly be an iPhone.
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