Definite Article

Definition and How to use Definite Article

Anything we write in English is incomplete without the usage of articles.


You might want to improve your writing skills and for that, you need to have a good hold on English Grammar. There are a lot of things included in English grammar like tenses, modals, parts of speech, articles, etc. In this article, we are going to discuss the Definite Article in particular. You will get to know – what is the Definite Article, how can you use it, when to use it and when to not. All these things have been discussed in detail. 


What are Articles and How Do They work?

Articles can be described as the words that determine whether a noun is singular or plural. See the following example to understand the articles. 


Example: The cup of coffee tasted great after a long day.


We’ve demonstrated that it was one specific long day and one individual cup of coffee that tasted excellent by referencing the article. A cup of coffee tastes especially wonderful after a long day. We’ve produced a generic statement by utilizing the article a, meaning that any cup of coffee would taste excellent after a long day. 


There are two sorts of articles in English: definite and indefinite. Here, we will talk about the Definite Article. 


The Definite Article

The word ‘the’ is a Definite Article. You can restrict the meaning of a noun to a single thing, with the use of the Definite Article. “Are you going to the zoo this Monday?” your friend can ask. Here, the use of the Definite Article indicates that your friend is referring to a specific zoo that you both know about. You can use the Definite Article with single, multiple, or uncountable nouns. There are a lot of examples of how to utilize a Definite Article in a sentence. 



As a thumb rule, you can recall that all the words that start with a vowel SOUND will take precedence. For what reason did we underline the sound? 


As we have learned in prior evaluations that there are five vowels in English language structure – an, e, i, o and u. A typical legend is that “AN” goes before just the words that start with these vowel letters, like an owl, elephants, and such.


Be that as it may, curiously, vowels in English are not about the letters a, e, i, o, u in composition, however their sounds. In written English, there can be consonants that take precedence. For instance, hour, honor, etc. But you cannot use “an” with “hospital” that too starts with H just like Hour & Honor.


The reason behind it is simple. Hour & Honor sounds like a vowel, and thus we use “an” with such words. In contrast, words like “Hospital” don’t have vowel sounds and therefore are known as consonants. With such consonant words, we use another article “a”.


The Definite Article (The)

The Definite Article is used when the speaker accepts that the audience already knows the person or the thing referring in the sentence (since it is self-evident, because it is regular information, or because it was referred to in a similar sentence or a prior sentence).


Usage of “The” Definite Article is very particular and sometimes can be confusing. But if you will understand the basics behind its usage, you will get an idea where you should use this article and where not. Check out these rules to understand where we should use The Definite Article.


How to use a Definite Article?

1) Before a Noun

When we talk about something that already has been referred to in the prior sentence, we use “The” after that.


For example:

    A cat got in an honor with our dog yesterday. The dog won the battle.

    I purchased another house at Lokhandwala. The house is over the top expensive.


2) When Nouns Are Already Known to the User

When the user is already aware of the thing you are talking about, at such places we use “The” instead of describing that thing since it is already known to the user. 


For example:

    “Michael is wearing a suit at the party.” In this case, a person already knows about the party to which the other person is referring in this sentence, and thus we used “the” to refer to the party.

    “The men were not in the vehicle.” Both the men and the vehicle are known to the person as of now. 


 3) Before Unique Nouns 

Remember it as a thumb rule. “The” will always refer to Universal things Like The Sun, The Moon, The Arabian Ocean, The Bermuda Triangle, The Eiffel Tower, The Himalayas, etc. 


All these Universal things or Places are certain and won’t change. So we use “The” to refer to such things.


4) Superlative Adjectives

Superlative adjectives are used for Definite Nouns and to describe something special and unique. 


For example:

    My mother cooks the Best North Indian Food on the Earth.

    At 3307 ft. Height, Jeddah Tower is The Tallest structure on the planet.

    My child sister is The Most irritating individual in the house.

Here “Best”, “Tallest” and “Most” are the superlative adjectives, and thus we used “The” before them.


5) Before Adjectives Used as Nouns

If you are talking about some advice or duty, at such places also, we use “The”.


For example:

    Fortune Favors the Brave

Here Brave is used both as a noun and adjective, so we used “The” before it.


6) Proper Nouns

With Proper Nouns such as Nation’s Name, Plural names of nations, a few titles, a few associations, a few structures, papers, masterpieces, explicit family names, mountains, waterways, oceans, gatherings of islands, and deserts, we use “the”.


For Example 

The Indian sea, The Bay of Bengal, The Netherlands, The Caspian, The United States of America, The Taj Mahal, The Times of India, The Suez Canal, The Bay of Bengal, The Guptas. 


7) With Nationalities

Whenever we talk about any nationality, we must use “the” before it to emphasize that word. 


For example:

    The British controlled India for a long time.

    That Belgian chocolate is not liked by everyone.


Regardless of whether nationality is in the plural. Like: 

    The Indians aced in chess at the title.

    The Chinese are also known as the Dragons in the World.

    The Americans.


8) Mentions of Services or Systems

    Switch on the television to watch the latest show.

    We must go to the police to report the crime.

    We should take this to the buyer’s court.


9) With some Comparative Proclamations 

When you compare two things with each other as motivational advice or something else, “The” must be used in such sentences. 


For example:

    The more I work, the more I will be successful.

    The more you travel, the more you will fall in love with Nature.


General Rules / Tricks to follow to use “The” Definite Article

  • Use them for things which have been mentioned already. 

  • Use when there is something unique, even if not mentioned already.

  • Use them when you are expressing a statement for a particular person or object.



So, now when you know where and when you should use The Definite Article, we will advise you to practice it with some sentences. Try to make all the possible sentences you can create using the above rules and check how much you have learned about it.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the different rules for using the Definite Article?

There are many rules for using Definite Articles in sentences. It can be used when an ordinal number is used as the tenth, fifth, first, etc as it is because by using ‘the’, we can define a particular number. ‘The’ can also be used to specify names of particular monuments and rivers. It is also used with the names of certain countries. We can use ‘the’ with ‘only’ as well. 

2. When should I not use the Definite Article?

There can be various situations in which you don’t need to use the Definite Article. When you talk about things in general, you should not use ‘the’. You need not use the Definite Article with the proper noun. You don’t need ‘them’ at all if you are writing the names of some streets, places and locations. Any kind of sport or physical activity doesn’t need a Definite Article. 

3. Give different examples in which a Definite Article is used.

Below are the different examples in which a Definite Article is used. 

1. ‘Did he go to the party?’ 

2. ‘I saw a bird on the terrace.’

3. ‘The lily flower has a beautiful color.’

4. ‘Who was the first man to land on the moon.’

5. ‘It was the coldest night of the winter.’

6. ‘The player who hit a century yesterday, is out on the first ball today.’

4. How is a Definite Article different from an in Definite Article?

An article that is used to specify a particular noun so that it can easily be identified by the person who is reading the sentence or listening to it, is called a Definite Article. In English grammar, there is only one Definite Article and it is ‘the’. On the other hand, an article that is used to specify a noun that is mentioned by the writer or the speaker for the first time is called an inDefinite Article. In English grammar, there are two inDefinite Articles which are ‘a’ and ‘an’. 

5. How can I use the right article in sentences?

If you want to know which article you should use at which place, you need to know its rules. You can use the Definite Article ‘the’ with specific nouns. As far as the inDefinite Article is concerned, you can use ‘a’ or ‘an’ with non-specific nouns. Also, you can use ‘a’ before a vowel that sounds like a consonant or words that begin with a consonant. Similarly, you can use ‘an’ before a consonant that sounds like a vowel or words that begin with a vowel

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