Questions tagged [definite-articles]

This tag is for questions about the definite article.

60
votes
7answers
30k 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: “...
69
votes
8answers
82k views

Is there a reason the British omit the article when they “go to hospital”?

Why do British speakers omit the article in constructions like "go to hospital" or "go on holiday"? Pretty much all American speakers would rephrase those as "go to the hospital" and "go on a holiday",...
26
votes
5answers
34k views

Using the definite article before a country/state name

The Punjab is a rich state. Is it correct to use the before Punjab?
14
votes
6answers
60k views

Definite article before schools, colleges, and universities

Is the always used before the name of a school, college, or university?
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do people omit the definite article?

I'm used to always hearing or seeing a definite article before certain nouns. Yet on certain occasions the article is totally omitted, and it bothers me. I'm wondering what the justification for ...
31
votes
10answers
88k 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?
17
votes
5answers
9k 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 ...
21
votes
1answer
42k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
78k views

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

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 ...
21
votes
8answers
18k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
26
votes
2answers
19k views

Is it necessary to use “the” multiple times?

It seems that the question has eventually become a series of questions.... An example goes as: The 1st and (the) 2nd paragraphs of the article are extremely long. Another example: What are the ...
12
votes
1answer
4k views

Definite article with proper nouns, titles followed by a common noun

Over time I developed this rule where if a title or a proper name is followed by a common noun that represents the class of the entity I am referring to, then I use the definite article. In Example 1, ...
7
votes
2answers
27k 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, often I ...
13
votes
2answers
11k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
11k 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
3k views

Variations in the pronunciation of “the”

Although there are rather simple rules determining the pronunciation of "the", native speakers quite often deviate from these rules (including, e.g., TV shows). According to the Longman Pronunciation ...
20
votes
6answers
66k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
5k 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
16
votes
2answers
5k 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 a ...
14
votes
1answer
21k views

Is pronouncing “The” as in “Thee” still correct in titles?

When saying the title of JRR Tolkien's masterpiece, which is the correct pronunciation (Yes, I know that they're spelled wrong, but I'm trying to emphasize the pronunciation): Thuh Lord of thuh Rings ...
11
votes
5answers
10k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
414 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
1answer
1k 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 article ...
14
votes
4answers
6k views

“watching the television” or “watching television”? [duplicate]

"He was watching the television when I called on him." When I said this sentence to one of my friends (an English teacher) he corrected me saying that the definite article (the) should be omitted. ...
12
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
4k views

A query about the use of Generic Reference with nationalities

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
280 views

Who is Greek president vs Who is THE Greek President

I saw this in a quiz on Stuff: Who is Greek president? Surely the word "the" should be in there somewhere? But I get the feeling I've heard things like "US President Barack Obama" instead of "The ...
1
vote
2answers
951 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
7k views

“The X and (the) Y”: 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 ...
32
votes
6answers
8k views

What is the difference between Ukraine and the Ukraine?

Time magazine (March 5th) carries the article titled, “Ukraine, not the Ukraine: The significance of three little letters,” in which the following comment of William Taylor, who served as the U.S. ...
9
votes
4answers
16k 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 less ...
7
votes
1answer
13k 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. Student at ...
6
votes
7answers
22k views

City names with articles [closed]

Typically we don't use articles with city names, e.g. "Seattle" and not "the Seattle." I know at least one exception though which is The Hague. Are there any other city names which we use with the ...
5
votes
3answers
55k 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 "...
12
votes
2answers
51k 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 first ...
4
votes
5answers
25k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

The + Possessive

I'm quite sure that I can say the Onegin's score meaning the opera “Eugene Onegin”. However, i feel that it's wrong to say the Onegin's leg meaning the character Eugene Onegin and that the correct ...
7
votes
4answers
12k views

Usage of “a” and “the” in titles [closed]

Which one should I use for page title? Apple — Tasty Fruit Apple — A Tasty Fruit Apple — The Tasty Fruit The article is only about tasty apple.
4
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Can the definite article be omitted when referring to a person qualified by a noun?

Is there a difference between these references to a specific person: "The implication is clear: as the psychologist Jonathan Haidt said..." and "The implication is clear: as psychologist ...
10
votes
3answers
19k views

a cold vs flu / the flu

Have you got a cold? Have you got flu? Have you got the flu? Why can't we say a flu or the cold in the previous examples?
4
votes
4answers
3k 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 thickness. ...
4
votes
3answers
8k views

Why does English use definite articles before certain proper nouns, such as the names of ships?

Over on English Language Learners, a non-native speaker asked a question about adding "the" before movie titles. I wanted to tell him or her that the rule in English is not to add a definite article ...
5
votes
5answers
3k 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"?
3
votes
2answers
3k 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" ...
0
votes
1answer
33k 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 United ...
39
votes
6answers
73k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
17k 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 ...