The Definite Article (the)

This page will teach you when and how to use the definite article (the). Students often overlook the importance of or misunderstand the usage of articles. If you would like to learn more about this article, you’ve come to the right place. Feel free to look around, learn, and practice.

We use the definite article…

1- When talking about inventions or species of animal

The panda is an endangered species.

The Lightbulb was invented by Thomas Edison.

2- With national groups, religious communities, or groups of particular beliefs

The British are usually very polite.

The Muslims where enraged by the senator’s comments.

3- With previously mentioned nouns

I’ve got three dresses, a red one, a blue one, and a black one. I think I’ll wear the red one to the party.

4- When we know which one we are talking about

We decided to buy the house we told you we were looking at last week.

5- When there is only one

The Internet has made the world a much smaller place.

6- With superlatives

New York is the biggest city in North America.

7- With the names of states, kingdoms, and republics

The United Arab Emirates is a very rich country.

8- With the names of oceans, seas, rivers, and deserts

The River Thames runs through London.

*Note: We do not use the definite article with the names of lakes.

They went to their cottage at Lake Superior for the long weekend.

9- With the names of mountain ranges (groups of mountains)

The Alps are popular with skiers.

*Note: We do not use the definite article with the names of single mountains.

We went trekking up Mount Giewont.

10- With plural names

The Canary Islands are situated off the coast of Africa.

11- With important job titles

The President gave the order to launch a pre-emptive strike.