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Grammar: Definite Article


Nouns in English can have a definite “the” article, indefinite  “a”, “an” article or no article.


we use the definite article before a noun which has already been mentioned, i.e. the listener or the reader know it.

The definite article is also often used before a noun which describes a unique thing, official title, etc…

Krupina is a small town. The town has a population of about eight thousand people.

The Queen will visit our town.

Other uses of  “the”

  • before ordinal numbers

the first, the fifth, the tenth…

  • with superlatives of adjectives

the nicest, the most important…

She is the most beautiful of all.

  • in some time expressions

the beginning, the past, the future, the present…

In the future there will be less poverty in the world.

  • in the times  of a day

in the morning, in the evening, in the afternoon…

We played tennis in the morning.

  • in dates when we say it but not in written form

We should meet on June 12th. (when speaking: June the 12th)

  • in some expressions

all the while, at the moment, at the beginning of, for the time being…

I am sorry I cannot speak to you at the moment.

  • in the form “the” + noun + of

There are many interesting places in the countries of Central Europe.

Ancient Greeks believed in the healing power of honey.

  • family as a whole “the surname + s” ( if a surname ends by s the other s is not added )

the Browns

  • before nouns which were made of adjectives

We must care about the old.

The state provides loans for the unemployed.

The Definite article can be used with countable and uncountable singular or plural nouns.

the book, the trees, the snow, the money…

Person, country (expressed in one word), town and dates usually appear without the definite article.

John, Sunday, March, New York, (exception – The Hague), Slovakia, but The Slovak Republic