I can't understand when to put 'the' before words.

Which one is correct and why?

  1. I clicked yes to Google Calendar invitations.

  2. I clicked yes to the Google Calendar invitations.

  • 'I clicked yes to ...' is itself a fairly novel construction. It shows productivity in the quote ... report grey area (some internet examples stick with the quote structure 'I clicked "Yes" to ...'). Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 11:16

2 Answers 2


I would say #2 is the more correct one of the two you posted, as you're referring to a specific set of Google Calendar invitations, and so the definite article is appropriate. Simply saying "to Google Calendar invitations" is more of a general statement of what you do when you receive one, so using the past tense isn't really correct there. What you COULD say is

I click yes to Google Calendar invitations

If you were trying to convey that whenever you get a Google Calendar invitation, you accept it, but that's a different meaning to the one you were asking about.

TL;DR #2 is the correct one.


Perhaps these basic rules on ARTICLES will help:

THE is used in these cases:

  • Referring to things that are UNIQUE:

I'm worried about the future. The most popular sport in Britain The Queen of England The sea is too rough to swim in. the best football team in the world. What time does the sun rise? (BUT: See the notes on planets, mountains, parks, etc. below.)

  • When it's obvious which one you mean: We're going to the pub. I'm taking the dog for a walk.

  • When we mean a particular person or thing: The actor who played the villain. The big question fitness experts are asking …

  • Oceans, seas and rivers: the Atlantic, the Aegean, the Thames

  • Plural mountain groups, island groups and countries: the Andes, the Canary Islands, the Netherlands

  • Hotels, cinemas, theatres, museums: the Ritz, the Gaumont, the Playhouse, the National Gallery

A or AN is used in these cases: * Referring to a single thing or person: There's a cinema opposite the bank (one of many cinemas in the town). It's a difficult exercise.
A friend of mine ...

  • Professions or jobs: He's an actor. She's an engineer.

  • Generalisations: An actor performs in front of an audience.

Ø - the 'zero article' is used in these cases:

  • Generalisations about plural ideas, people or things: New cars are expensive. Bicycles are pollution-free. She went to school in England. You mustn't smoke in class. We go to church.
  • Planets, continents, countries, states: Jupiter, Europe, Britain, Hollands-California (BUT: the Earth, the Sun, the Moon, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom)
  • Languages: English, Dutch
  • Mountains and lakes: Mount Fuji, Lake Geneva BUT: the Triglav mountain
  • Streets, roads and squares: Oxford Street, Fifth Avenue, Trafalgar Square

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