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English Language English Grammar: «THE: use it or not»

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'THE': use it or not?

We use THE[edit | edit source]

  • THE is used in front of singular or plural nouns, when we talk about things that people know. Make yourself comfortable, sit in the armchair !
we know which armchair we're talking about!
  • THE is used when referring to public places, in general, or to buildings rather than institutions.
Let's meet at the cinema (we are in front of the cinema, but we do not go to cinema)
  • THE is used in certain geographical areas: a group of states (the United States), islands (the Bahamas), seas (the Atlantic), rivers (the Thames), mountains (the Alps)
  • THE is used to speak, in general, of groups of people (the poor), of nationalities (the Germans), of musical instruments (I play the guitar).
  • THE is of course used to talk about unique things or events (The French Revolution)


We do not use THE[edit | edit source]

  • THE is not used in front of the plural and uncountable nouns when one speaks about people, abstract ideas or things in general.
Women are more careful than men.
  • THE is not used when referring to public places, as institutions and not as buildings.
Jane is in hospital. Julia is at school.
  • No THE article in front of countries (China, France) continents (Asia, Africa) cities, regions (London, Sussex)
  • Finally, no article THE either when referring to parts of the body (he's got big hands) transport (I'll go by car), meals (Have you had lunch?), Seasons and some expressions of time (I love summer - The park closed at night)

Sources[edit | edit source]

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Vincent

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