This tag is for questions about the definite article.

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37
votes
7answers
13k views

Are there any simple rules for choosing the definite vs. indefinite (vs. none) article?

I can’t for the life of me figure out where to use a and where to use the — and where there is no article at all. Is there a simple rule of thumb to memorize? The standard rule you always hear: ...
22
votes
5answers
17k views

Using the definite article before a country/state name

The Punjab is a rich state. Is it correct to use the before Punjab?
7
votes
6answers
10k views

Definite article before schools, colleges, and universities

Is the always used before the name of a school, college, or university?
13
votes
5answers
4k views

Use of definite article before phrases like Heathrow Airport, Hyde Park, Waterloo Station, Edgware Road and Parliament Square

In this related question (Definite article with proper nouns, titles followed by a common noun), the OP asks if it is grammatical to use the definite article before phrases like Advanced programming ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there specific rules to build expressions with or without articles?

In English, there are lots of expressions built using articles like: at the station to the cinema play the piano have breakfast (no article) take a bath take a shower Are there specific rules or ...
12
votes
1answer
14k views

Using the definite article with acronyms and initialisms

I'm wondering when to use or not to use the definite article, when using acronyms or initialisms in a sentence. Is there a rule for this, or does it depend on the context? For example, let's look at ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Do I need to put “the” before “most” in this sentence?

Is putting “the” before “most” in this sentence compulsory, optional, or a mistake? Fascination with language and attention to particular regions and communities in America are the most common ...
21
votes
10answers
19k views

About definite article before “Earth”, “Moon” and “Sun”

In what cases do we have to put the definite article the before each of these words: Sun Moon Earth and in what cases do we not need to?
15
votes
8answers
5k views

Omission of definite article with musical instruments

What is the rule for omitting/including the definite article in the following sentences: I used to play piano. I used to play the piano. I would pick the first sentence, but I've heard people ...
7
votes
4answers
19k views

Why there is “the” before some names but not others

Is there a rule beyond the common "no the with proper nouns and names" for the following problem? I saw the Empire State Building. We went to the White House. We saw the Golden Gate ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

“All X” vs. “all of X” vs. “all the X”

Is there any difference between "all X", "all of the X", "all the X"? E.g., all friends all of the friends all the friends
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Why do I want to say “the iPhone” instead of just “iPhone”?

Apple is somewhat notorious for omitting articles when talking about their products, and statements such as "People love iPhone" hit my ear a little strangely. But when I stopped to think about it, I ...
12
votes
3answers
12k views

Why use “the” for oceans/seas/rivers etc. but not lakes?

Possibly two questions in here: Are these sentence constructions logical, and if they are, why are they different? I swam across the Ocmulgee River. I swam across the Pacific Ocean. I swam ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

Capitalising the definite article in names

When I was a youngster some mumble-mumble-mumble decades ago, I was taught that, in the instances of names of persons, places, and things which carried the definite article the, the article wasn’t ...
1
vote
2answers
538 views

Primary determinant for deciding if you should use ‘the’

In the following dialog, both ‘the people who we don’t know’ and ‘Ø people who we don’t know’ might mean either ‘all the people who we don’t know’ or ‘some of the people who we don’t ...
4
votes
3answers
838 views

“The (Cobra)” vs. “An (elephant)”, articles with nouns denoting a class

[ 1 ] tells on p.5 that "Singular nouns denoting a class" are preceded by the definite article "THE" (Example: "The Cobra is dangerous"), while on page 7 (Table 6. THE INDEFINITE ARTICLE) it tells ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Is it necessary to use “the” multiple times?

It seems that the question has eventually become a series of questions.... Question 1 An example goes as: The 1st and (the) 2nd paragraphs of the article are extremely long. Is it necessary ...
6
votes
2answers
8k views

Is it proper to use “the” before the name of a government organization? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Definite article with proper nouns, titles followed by a common noun Using the definite article with acronyms and initialisms When I listen to major news programs, ...
5
votes
4answers
548 views

US Route 101 — “The 101”

In my part of the world, we refer to highways without any article. So we drive on "Highway 64", or "Interstate 64", or "I-64". But when I go to California, they say "The 101". Is there any explanation ...
2
votes
3answers
5k views

Need for using the article “the” before “United States of America”? [duplicate]

Usually, we do not use the definite article, the, before names of countries but we use the before "United States of America". Is there a specific reason for using the article before the country ...
4
votes
4answers
925 views

Definite article before scientific terms

I'm writing up my dissertation and I'm really confused where to use "the". Examples: In this experiment, (the?) heat transfer coefficient was calculated, allowing to estimate (the?)frost ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

Please use other door?

"Please use other door" signs are common. But would you ever say this? Or would you say "please use the other door"?
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Use or omit “the” before profession?

This image-stabilising system for a hand-held camera, developed by cameraman Garrett Brown in 1973, offers (...) Wouldn't it be more correct to write "the cameraman Garrett Brown"? Is omitting ...
3
votes
3answers
256 views

Is there a usage of “the” that indicates one out of a group of many?

Considering the sentence Nearly anything can be a weapon in a martial artist’s hands., the indefinite article a indiciates that this can be any martial artist out of all in the world. Next, consider ...
0
votes
2answers
631 views

Do I need “the” before the name of my university in the header? [duplicate]

Do I need "the" before the name of my university in the header? Header: Politechnika Wroclawska - name of university in my language (the Wroclaw University of Technology) - translated name ...
30
votes
6answers
41k views

Why is it “on *the* one hand”?

According to all dictionaries I can see and everyday use by native speakers, this is the correct way: On the one hand, it's larger; on the other hand, it's more expensive. What makes no sense to ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Usage of English definite article when referring to generic word

My mother language does not have articles, so I still struggle to choose when to use the indefinte and definite article. The other day, I learned: "The dog is an animal" is acceptable. "The iron is ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

Why is “the” dropped in “I go to school by bus”?

Why is the dropped in "I go to school by bus"? Why isn't it "I go to the school by the bus" if both school and bus are countable? Does the rule that a countable noun must have an article have an ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

When should I repeat the definite article?

I am a bit confused about the rule of setting the definite article in a sentence when it is associated to two nouns. The beginning and end of the channel. The beginning and the end of the ...
7
votes
2answers
17k views

“During summer” vs. “during the summer”

What is the difference between saying "during summer" and "during the summer"? As in: I work during the summer. I work during summer. Are both common? Is my feeling correct that the ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

'… the weather' vs. '… weather'

There are two correct (I hope so) sentences with weather taken from a book: Was the weather nice? Did you have nice weather? Can somebody explain why there's an article in the first ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Use of the definite article “the” before “church”

I was in a Teacher's selection for a school in my country, and one of the coordinators said that she heard a mistake from another teacher that was unacceptable. I tried to figure out why was that, but ...
4
votes
4answers
280 views

“king of” or “the king of”

Which is correct? I am king of the world. I am the king of the world. Additionally, which would be the better choice, if I wanted to use the expression "king" to signify dominance in a ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

“Planning for next year” vs. “planning for the next year”

I would like to start planning for next year. In the above sentence, there is no definite article before the words next year. Should it be present, as in the following sentence which sounds far ...
6
votes
2answers
318 views

Should there be an article before “mayor” in “the role of mayor”?

SimCity, for example, casts youth in the role of mayor. I'm not sure if I understand the usage of zero article correctly. There is no article before 'mayor' as this is the instance where we ...
5
votes
2answers
232 views

“Them” as a plural definite article

Hey, teachers, leave them kids alone! Intuitively "them" here sounds like it works like a plural "the". Which varieties of English is this usage found in? When it occurs, does it encode a ...
2
votes
2answers
727 views

the and thee (I prefer to pronounce it as thuh all the time) [closed]

My question is can I always pronounce THE with thuh instead of thee? Because unlike "a" "an" rule, pronouncing "thee" seems cumbersome for some people (including me) Note that I know the "emphasis" ...
2
votes
1answer
353 views

Use “the” before a scientific method name? [closed]

I'm writing a paper about an algorithm that I have developed. Just for illustration, I will say that the method name is "quicksort". My question is about the usage of the in the following context: ...
2
votes
2answers
302 views

Why isn’t the definite article used in “The commission commanded that work […] should cease”?

In this sentence: The commission commanded that work on the building should cease. Why isn't the used before the word work? It seems that the work is specified by on the building. Another ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Why 'The' is used? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Using the definite article before a country/state name Why do we write: The UCI Road World Championships 2012 (when the year is mentioned) The Republic of ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

“To be elected chairman” vs. “to be elected the chairman”

I have a question regarding the correct use of the definite article "the": One of my books says: Definite article the is used before nouns denoting a position that can be held by one person ...
1
vote
1answer
280 views

Necessary and unnecessary articles for proper nouns

In AmE (and probably other dialects as well) there are certain place names and other proper nouns that either have a compulsory definite article or a compulsory lack of one attached to them. For ...
1
vote
3answers
20k views

“Both of you” vs. “the both of you”

When we refer to two people, which is right — "both of you" or "the both of you"? Are both the same or is there any difference between them?
1
vote
1answer
64 views

Definite article or not in “the low sampling frequency”

I do not mention what is the sampling frequency but I know that it is low. Should I use the article "the" or not in the following? 1 This can be highly error prone because of narrow bandlimited ...
1
vote
2answers
277 views

Incriminating others vs. Incriminating the others: Is this sentence correct?

From Oxford dictionary : He was careful not to say anything that might incriminate the others. Should it not be "He was careful not to say anything that might incriminate others"? If the ...
1
vote
2answers
611 views

“All rooms” versus “all the rooms”

When a hotel gives a description of the rooms in the facility, which sentence is correct and why? All the rooms are equipped with a free internet connection. All rooms are equipped with a ...
0
votes
1answer
464 views

Use of the article “the” with proper nouns

I'm writing a leaflet for children from primary schools who will visit our school. Is it correct to write: the "amerigo vespucci" school is waiting for you!!!! Is the use of the definite ...
-1
votes
1answer
171 views

University names? [duplicate]

I have some questions concerning names of university. What is the difference between "The Poznan University of Life Sciences" and "Poznan University of Life Sciences"? Are there any grammatical ...
-1
votes
3answers
844 views

What article should be used in such sentences?

What article should be used in the following sentence? He was English by [a/the/] blood. I feel there should be a zero article here, but I was taught that the zero article is impossible in ...
-1
votes
1answer
5k views

significance of “The” before country name [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Using the definite article before a country/state name I am from India, and I do not say that I am from “the India”. But someone from USA would say “I am from the ...