The word “the” is one of the most common words in English. It is the only definite article. Nouns in English are preceded by the definite article when the speaker believes that the listener already knows what he is referring to.
WHEN TO USE “THE”
- Use the to refer to something which has already been mentioned.
I was walking past Benny’s Bakery when I decided to go into the bakery to get some bread.
- Use the when you assume there is just one of something in that place, even if it has not been mentioned before.
We went on a walk in the forest yesterday.
- Use the in sentences or clauses where you define or identify a particular person or object.
I scratched the red car parked outside.
- Use the to refer to people or objects that are unique.
The sun rose at 6:17 this morning.
- Use the before superlatives and ordinal numbers.
This is the highest building in New York.
- Use the with adjectives, to refer to a whole group of people.
The elderly require special attention.
- Use the with decades.
This is a painting from the 1820’s.
- Use the with clauses introduced by only
The only tea I like is black tea.
- Use the with names of geographical areas, rivers, mountain ranges, groups of islands, canals, and oceans.
Hiking across the Rocky Mountains would be difficult.
- Use the with countries that have plural names
I have never been to the Netherlands.
- Use the with countries that include the words “republic”, “kingdom”, or “states” in their names.
She is visiting the United States.
- Use the with newspaper names.
She works for the New York Times.
- Use the with the names of famous buildings, works of art, museums, or monuments.
We went to the Louvre and saw the Mona Lisa.