EFL Beginners | The Definite Article “The” | Study Notes

EFL Beginners | The Definite Article “The” | Study Notes

EFL Beginners | The Definite Article “The” | Study Notes

The Definite Article “the”


When can you use “the”?


The listener or reader knows what noun you are talking about because:

  1. You have mentioned it before

  2. It is the only one in the world

  3. The noun is the only one in that context

  1. A small dog is sitting on the doorstep. The dog is brown and has curly fur.

  2. The King of Spain is visiting Germany this weekend.

  3. I go for walks in the forest every day during the holidays (The forest next to my house).

When you talk about systems or services

The bus runs every ten minutes.My sister works as a nurse for the NHS.

When you talk about playing instruments

Tim plays the trumpet.I want to learn to play the piano.

When you talk about some quality that is true for every each of the same noun

The brain controls what happens in our body. (every brain has that function)The dart frog is a very poisonous animal. (every dart frog is very poisonous)

With the superlatives

My sister is the best sister ever.

You only use “the” with names if you talk about:

  1. rivers, seas, oceans, mountain ranges, canals, groups of islands.

  2. countries that have plural names.

  3. countries that have kingdom, states, republic in the name.

  4. families. 

  5. names of newspapers

  6. names of famous artwork/buildings.

  7. names of hotels/restaurants etc.

  • 1. The Vistula River, The Caribbean Sea, The Himalayas
  • 2. The Seychelles

  • 3. The United States of America, The Republic of Ireland

  • 4. The Smiths

  • 5. The Daily Mail, The Guardian

  • 6. The Eiffel Tower, the Last Supper

  • 7. The Hilton, The McDonalds