Recently I wrote a story and I shared it with my friend for a feedback. He advised me that I am using the definite article “the” a lot. But I think that is not the case. I will give you an example on how I use “the”.

Whenever I have to introduce a character for the first time I always use “a/an” and then afterwards I use “the” before the character.

For instance, if I were to write, “There was a rat that lived in a palace”. So from here onwards whenever I use the word “rat” (not “it”) I put “the” before it.

I know that I can’t use “a” here, and also I can’t just write “rat” because I think when we write about something that is definite we should always use “the”.

Please, pardon my English. I hope I am making sense here. Any help is much appreciated.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Edwin Ashworth, user140086, Scott, jimm101, tchrist Nov 8 '16 at 13:39

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • What we learn from this is: (a) take feedback with a grain of salt, and (b) choose carefully whom you approach. // Your explanation was excellent. // If the articles start to get on your nerves too, you could give the animals names, or use proper nouns, e.g. "Rat felt frightened when he saw Cat nosing around the palace doors, and took the tunnel shortcut back inside the Palace walls." By the way you can post whole excerpts of your writing at Writers SE. – aparente001 Nov 6 '16 at 1:49
  • You might want to refer to Charlotte’s Web, in which the animal characters have names: the rat is Templeton, the pig is Wilbur, and Charlotte, of course, is a spider. – Scott Nov 7 '16 at 3:28

It is correct in this context to use "the rat." You are referring to a specific, previously introduced character.

If your friend is concerned about frequency of use of this word, s/he should note that it is the most common word in the language (by a lot), according to a source that has compiled many word frequency lists from many sources.

word frequency info

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