Definite Article for intermediate learners

The definite article in English language is 'the'. It is used before a noun to show that the noun is known to the reader. Learn about this useful article!

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"Definite Article" in English Grammar

What Is Definite Article?

The definite article is used to talk about a noun that is known by the listener and speaker. The definite article in English is 'the.'

How to Use the Definite Article?

Definite article 'the' is used before nouns to make them known and it is usually used when we mention the same noun for the second time. Here are the example:

I bought a car yesterday. The car was really expensive.

He had a small cat. The cat got lost in the street.

When to Use Definite Article

Here are the most common situations in which you use definite article 'the':

  • To use with some proper nouns
  • To refer to family names
  • To refer to a whole group
  • To make a common noun known

Definite Article with Proper Nouns

Before the name of some oceans, mountains, newspapers, buildings, and countries we are allowed to use the definite article. Here are the examples:

He went through the Atlantic Ocean.

He always wanted to live in the United States.

To Refer to Family Names

Sometimes, to refer to a family as their house or their place or even as the whole members of the family, we can use the definite article. Here are the examples:

We want to go to the Joneses.

I called the Smiths and invited them.

To Refer to a Whole Group

When we want to talk about a whole group and members of a group at the same time, we can use the definite article before them. Here are the examples:

The team worked very hard to get the prize.

The judge decided about the case.

To Make a Common Noun Known

When a common noun is mentioned for the second time or when there is a background or description of the noun for the listener, we use the definite article. For example:

The man standing over there is my father.

I saw him. The teacher looked older.

Review

The definite article in English is:

  • The

We use definite article:

  • To use some proper nouns
  • To refer to family names
  • To refer to a whole group
  • To make a common noun known

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