This tag is for questions about the definite article.

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32
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5answers
9k 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: ...
18
votes
5answers
11k views

Using the definite article before a country/state name

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

Definite article before schools, colleges, and universities

Is the always used before the name of a school, college, or university?
12
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
798 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
8k 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
10k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
1k 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
3
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
6k 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
2k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
704 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
907 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
375 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
384 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
1k 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
214 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
343 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
453 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
237 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 ...
21
votes
10answers
10k 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?
6
votes
2answers
297 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
177 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
879 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
850 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
130 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
1answer
56 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
1answer
265 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: ...
1
vote
2answers
195 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
569 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
114 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
585 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
3k 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 ...
25
votes
6answers
29k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
1k 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
1k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
323 views

Use of definite article referring to figures and tables

There are tables and figures in a document, uniquely identifiable by their numbers. We want to refer to them in several places. Which one is preferable in academic English writing and why? In ...
4
votes
1answer
4k views

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

Possible Duplicate: Definite article before proper nouns I was updating my LinkedIn tagline and thinking about whether I should put the article before the name of the university. ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

“The” before superlative [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do I need to put “the” before “most” in this sentence? I've always thought you need the definite article 'the' before the superlative of an adjective, except when the ...
2
votes
3answers
396 views

Which is correct: “Grails” or “The Grails”?

Should it be Grails has integration with jUnit or The Grails has integration with jUnit If the correct answer is the one without the "The", then why? P.S. (The) Grails is an open source ...
0
votes
4answers
444 views

A Few Notes on Generic Reference

In English, generic reference takes three possible forms: A. Cats are cute. B. A cat is cute. C. The cat is cute. But the names of nationalities seem to me to make an exception to this rule. As ...
7
votes
2answers
682 views

Definite or indefinite article in “the/a devil's advocate”

I can't quite figure out which of the following expressions is more correct: He is the devil's advocate. He is a devil's advocate. He is playing devil's advocate. The combination of an article ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

Using “the” before ordinal numbers

When learning English I was told that ordinal numbers should always be used with "the" before them. But I often see that this is not always so strict, for example I heard the phrase "April first" ...
6
votes
2answers
272 views

“the average person” vs “an average person”

There's a question in a forum I frequent, and I'm trying to decide whether "the average" or "an average" is appropriate in its title. Let's say the question is: "Why is the average Canadian ...