Always use articles; the best, an ice-cream, a stick

When to use 'the'

The word "the" is one of the most common words in English. It is our only definite article. Nouns in English are preceded by the definite article when the speaker believes that the listener already knows what he is referring to. The speaker may believe this for many different reasons, some of which are listed below.

You must use an article when the noun is countable; example, the book, a book, an envelope, an egg.​



Use the to refer to something which has already been mentioned.

  • On Monday, an unarmed man stole £1,000 from the bank. The thief hasn't been caught yet.
  • I was walking past Ed's Bakery when I decided to go into the bakery to get some bread.
  • There's a position available in my team. The job will involve some international travel.

Use the when you assume there is just one of something in that place, even if it has not been mentioned before.

  • We went on a walk in the forest yesterday.
  • Where is the bathroom?
  • Turn left and go to number 23. Our house is across from the Thai restaurant.
  • My father enjoyed the wine you gave him.

Use the in sentences or clauses where you define or identify a particular person or object.

  • The man who wrote this book is famous.
  • I scratched the red car parked outside.
  • I live in the small house with a blue door.
  • He is the doctor I came to see.

Use the to refer to people or objects that are unique.

  • The sun rose at 6:10 this morning.
  • You can go anywhere in the world.
  • Clouds drifted across the sky.
  • The president will be speaking on TV tonight.
  • The CEO of our company is coming to our meeting.

Use the before superlatives and ordinal numbers.

  • This is the highest building in London.
  • She read the last chapter of her new book first.
  • You are the tallest person in our class.
  • This is the third time I have called you today.

Use the with adjectives, to refer to a whole group of people.

  • The French enjoy cheese.
  • The elderly require special attention.
  • She has given a lot of money to the poor.

Related posts