I've spent years in the States and I'm still confused when I should use "the" in sentences.
These are the cases that I know that I have to use a definite article.
case 1: refer to specific objects. he was working at the firm where his colleagues were friendly.
case 2: refer to unique objects. The earth is a planet.
case 3: general statements The human is a foolish species.
What I'm the most confused about are the situations where "the" makes a difference in meanings. For example, I went to the college means I was physically present at the college, and I went to college means I finished a degree.
Using a definite article is very confusing to me. There seem to be many exceptions and special rules, and also idiomatic ways of using and not using a definite article.
Could someone kindly clarify the usage of "the" for me?