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The definite article

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'The'- the definite article is the most frequent word in English.

We use 'the' when we think that the person we are talking to or writing to knows what we are referring to and when or because there is only one within the context or surrounding relevant to the conversation, or if there is only one in the world.

I hope you still have the book I lent you
I saw the moon rise over the sea.
The Queen is visiting our city next week.

We use 'the' with a superlative adjective because there is only one in that situation:
He is the most experienced lawyer in the firm.
It is the oldest church in the city.

Here are more examples of 'the' being the only one:
Mum, could I borrow the car? – the car that belongs to the family
I go to the cafe near my flat. – the cafe that is near my flat
Look at the girl in the red dress – the girl I am talking about

We also use 'the' because we have already mentioned it:
A family was rescued from a sinking boat yesterday. The family was taken straight to hospital.

We also use the definite article to describe ideas from a noun:
The dog has been domesticated for thousands of years. – The dog – 'all' dogs
The lion is a social animal unlike the tiger. – 'all' lions, 'all' tigers

We use 'the' in this way to talk about specific groups, musical instruments, systems or services:
I prefer taking the train to flying.
She plays the guitar beautifully.
We reported the theft to the police.
The disabled are still having problems with access to public places.

We do not normally use the definite article with names:
William Shakespeare wrote Hamlet.
London is the most cosmopolitan city in the world.
Mexico is in North America, isn't it?

But we do use the definite article with:
Countries whose names include words like kingdom, states or republic:
The United Kingdom; the kingdom of Nepal; the United States; the People's Republic of China.

Countries which have plural nouns as their names:
The Netherlands; the Philippines

Geographical features, such as mountain ranges, groups of islands, rivers, seas, oceans and canals:
The Himalayas; the Canaries; the Atlantic; the Atlantic Ocean; the Amazon; the Panama Canal.

The United Nations; the Seamen's Union

Hotels, pubs and restaurants:
The Ritz; the Ritz Hotel; the King's Head; the Déjà Vu

However if the name of the place has a proper name we do not normally use 'the':
'Lady Di pub', 'Alfredo's pizzeria'

Lesson by Tristan

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