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Uses of THE

CleverCookie was not sure about the use of the and her friend, SmartScone, told her that generic nouns do not need a definite article. As you can notice, this is not always so:

  • Singular generic noun:                                                      


  • Plural generic noun:                                                             


The wallaby is an animal from Australia.

Wallabies also live in the Isle of Man (check it!​)

The uses of the are complex and various. However, it is fine if you keep in mind the most common ones:

  • Anaphoric reference (when we refer to something previously mentioned):                                                      


  • Cataphoric reference (when we refer to something that is used later in a text):      


  • Unique or fixed referent:                                                                                        

  • Before a noun when we believe the listener/reader knows exactly what we are referring to:

  • With a superlative adjective:

  • With adjectives like poor, rich, elderly and unemployed to talk about groups of people:

  • With countries whose names include words like republic, states or kingdom:

  • With countries which have plural nouns as their names:

  • With geographical features that include rivers, seas, oceans, canals, groups of islands and mountain ranges:

  • With the names of newspapers:

  • With well-known works of art or buildings:

  • With organisations:

  • With the names of hotels, pubs, restaurants, museums and galleries:

  • With the name of families: 


Yesterday I watched a movie. The movie was based on real facts.


The woman sitting next to me is my mother



The Queen of England.                                                             


The moon is not very bright tonight.


She is the most intelligent girl in the classroom.

Life can be very relaxed for the rich.


The United Kingdom.


The Philippines.

The Pacific Ocean.


The New York Times.

The Burj Khalifa.

The World Health Organization.

The British Museum.


The Obamas.


¿Necesitas esta explicación en castellano? 
Uses of THE (versión en castellano)
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