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Article: The

Let’s learn how to use the definite article ‘the’.

Usage of the definite article ( ‘the’ ) :

1. Observe the following paragraph:

One day, I saw a rat in my house. I thought there were many rats living in our house. So, I brought a cat from my friend’s house. I gave the cat all the food it required. It ate well and moved around the house. But a month after bringing the cat, to my surprise, one day I found the cat playing with the same rat. Now, they have become good buddies.

You learn from the above paragraph that when we used ‘rat’ or ‘cat’ and ‘house’ for the first time, we used ‘a’ before them. But, when we used the words for the second or third time, we kept ‘the’ before them.

So, the definite article ‘the’ is used before the persons or things that we already know beforehand.

2. ‘The’ is used with a noun whose identity is clear to the listener and the speaker from the context.

Our classroom is on the second floor. ( the second floor of our school building )

What is the time? ( the time now )

The weather is nice. ( the weather now )

Please turn off the lights before you go out of the room. ( the lights in the room )

3. The definite article is used before a noun which is unique or one of its kind.

the Sun 

the Earth 

the Pacific 

the Antarctic 

the South Pole 

the Universe

4. ‘the’ is also used with adjectives to represent a class of people.

There is a school for the blind at the end of our street.

An ambulance took the injured to hospital.

5. ‘the’ is also used with a noun whose identity is part of our knowledge.

The Prime Minister has started the PLI scheme to give support to industries during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Government is starting a new programme to increase productivity in agriculture sector.

6. ‘the’ is used before the names of some countries.

the USA 

the UK 

the Netherlands

7. ‘the’ is also used before the names of rivers, channels, and canals.

the Amazon 

the Mississippi 

the Nile 

the Ganga 

the English Channel 

the Suez Canal

8. It is used before the names of holy books.

the Mahabharata 

the Bible 

the Koran 

the Ramayana

9. It is also used before the names of inventions.

Thomas Alva Edison invented the bulb.

The Telescope is used to see distant stars.

10. We use ‘the’ before superlative adjectives.

Nirmala is the shortest girl in the school.

Sukanya is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.

11. ‘the’ is also used with words like ‘top’, ‘first’, ‘end’, ‘next’, ‘centre’ and ‘middle’ etc.

Alekya was the first one to visit the new office.

Janani dropped out in the middle of the semester.

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