Learn English Grammar: Lesson 13 – The Article the

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Learn English Grammar: Lesson 13 – The Article the

The article the is used before nouns at different times.

  1. Use the when you are talking about something specific.
  • general:     Everyone has an identification card.
  • specific:    The identification card that you have is light blue.
  1. Use the with the superlative form of an adjective, which means with the word most or least or with the ending -est.
  • comparative:        In a jewelry store, gold is more expensive than silver.
  • superlative:          In a jewelry store, diamonds are the most expensive material.
  • comparative:        In our class, Jan is tall, but Mark is taller.
  • superlative:          In our class, Ricky is the tallest student.
  1. Use the for the second and all other references to a noun.
  • first reference:            We watched a video in our history class yesterday.
  • second reference:       The video lasted for about twenty minutes.
  1. When you want to talk about a category or group in general, use no article.
  • general:        Tigers are fierce animals.
  • specific:        The tigers in our local zoo are fierce.
  1. Use the when the speaker and the listener are talking about the same specific item.
  • general:    Every kitchen has a refrigerator.
  • specific:    William, don’t forget to close the refrigerator!
  1. Use the for the parts of something. (Exception: Do not use the for body parts.)
  • general:  In a kitchen, there is a refrigerator, a stove, and a clock.
  • parts:     I went to Mary’s new house last night. Her kitchen is beautiful.                                      The refrigerator is silver, the stove is black, and the clock above the door has extremely big numbers on it.

Do not use the before abstract nouns such as feelings or ideas.

  • Incorrect:      The honesty is important.
  • Correct:        Honesty is important.

Do not use the with a word when you want to express a general meaning of the word.

  • Incorrect:     My favorite color is the blue.
  • Correct:        My favorite color is blue.
  • Incorrect:     I like the ice cream. I love the chocolate, but I don’t like the vanilla.
  • Correct:        I like ice cream. I love chocolate, but I don’t like vanilla.

Learn English Grammar: Lesson 14 – Quantifiers with Count and Noncount Nouns

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