Main Cases of the use of the Definite Article
The Definite article has the meaning of definiteness = specifying meaning. It arises from the previous mention of the noun in the context. eg. We have a house in the country. The house is small.
The Definite Article is used:
1. when the situation makes the object definite, when the speaker and listener know what particular object is meant: eg. Open the door, please.
2. when the speaker uses an attribute pointing out particular objects (a particularizing attribute): eg. This is the flat I live in.
3. with nouns in word-groups the first element of which is SOME, NONE, MOST, MANY and the second noun with the preposition OF:
eg. Most of the ladies looked pleased.
4. with nouns denoting unique things: eg. The sun was bright.
5. to denote something which is unique in some way:
e.g. Which is the tallest building in the world?
6. with nouns modified by adjectives in the superlative degree:
eg. This is the shortest story.
7. with nouns modified by the pronoun SAME, NEXT, WRONG, RIGHT, VERY, ONLY, LAST: eg. He asked the same question.
8. with nouns modified by the ordinal numeral: eg. Iím reading the first chapter.
9. the definite article has a generic meaning when the noun is used in a general sense and denotes the whole class: eg. The telephone was invented in the 19th century.
When the noun MAN is used in a general sense no article is used:
eg. Woman is manís helpmate.
10. with the name of a group of mountains: the Alps, the Himalayas
11. with the name of a canal, river, sea ocean: the Atlantic, the Mississippi
12. with the names of certain countries: e.g. the United States; the Lebanon
13. with the name of hotels, theatres, museums/galleries, cinemas, restaurants/pubs, newspapers, ships (+ the names with of):
e.g. the Hilton / the Sheraton / the British Museum / the Tower of London
14. to denote somebody we visit regularly: She has gone to the doctor/dentist.
15. with an adjective used as a noun referring to a group of people:
e.g. the sick / the injured / the rich / the young
16. with an adjective used as a noun describing a nationality:
e.g. the Japanese / the Asians
17. with the names denoting the whole family: e.g. the Simons
18. with the date (in speech): e.g. March the twenty-fifth
19. to denote somebody in an official position: e.g. the Pope / the President / the Queen
The Definite Article is used in some set expressions:
| in the morning
|| in the evening
|| out of the question
|| at the latest
| in the night
|| in the country
|| to make the bed
|| at the weekend
| on the right/left
|| on the one/other hand
|| to do the washing up
|| at the time
| on the whole
|| the day before yesterday
|| to keep the house
|| for the most part
| the other day
|| to go to the theatre
|| to lay the table
|| the sooner the better
| to play the piano
|| to tell the truth
|| under the influence
|| in the end
| to pass the time
|| all the same
|| to make the most
|| on the phone
| at the moment
|| in the distance
|| to tell the time
|| to tell the time
| in the original
|| in the shade
|| on the safe side
|| in the doorway
| on the spot
|| in the dark
|| in the sun
|| in the middle of
We do not use an article before:
- the plural form of a countable noun when it is used in a general sense:
e.g. I buy magazines about computers. I like music.
- an uncountable noun when it is used in a general sense:
e.g. She hates dishonesty. Many people are afraid of death.
- the name of a language: e.g. She speak fluent German.
- an adjective, unless the adjective is followed by a noun:
e.g. Her husband is tall. (She is married to a tall man.)
5. an airport or train station: e.g. Gatwick Airport / Charing Cross Station
6. a university: e.g. London University
7. a shop or bank named after people: e.g. Barclays Bank / McDonaldís
8. a church or cathedral: e.g. St. Martinís Church / St. Paulís Cathedral
9. a meal: e.g. have lunch / dinner
10. a disease or illness: e.g. Cancer causes a lot of suffering.
11. a street or road: e.g. Oxford Street / Fifth Avenue
12. a mountain or continent: e.g. Mount Everest; Europe / Asia
13. a country, country, state, etc.: e.g. Holland / Brixton / Texas
14. a lake: Lake Geneva / Lake Ontario
15. a school, college, church, prison when we are not focusing on the particular one:
e.g. He was sent to prison.
16. a hospital, university, etc. when we think of the purpose of the institution, not the building: e.g. He is in hospital.
17. a way of traveling: e.g. go by car / bus / train
The Zero Article is used in some set expressions:
| At first/last
|| For nothing
|| Out of rule
| At first sight
|| In detail
|| (be) out of breath
| At present
|| In case
|| On business
| At night/noon/midnight
|| In cash
|| On fire
| At peace/war
|| In charge of
|| On foot
| At work
|| In common
|| (be) on sale/for sale
| By accident
|| In connection with
|| Be in debt
| By chance
|| In vain
|| Be on strike
| By mistake
|| Keep(be) in touch
|| Be in bed
| Fall(be) in love
|| Keep house
|| Be in contact with
| From beginning to end
|| Out of doors
|| Put in order
| From North to South
|| (go) out of mind
|| Take to heart
Date: 2015-01-11; view: 1079