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Definite Article (The)

In this lesson of Learning English as a second language, we shall learn:

  • How to use Definite Article
  • The most important and daily life use of Definite Article.

I hope you have already gone through Unit 44 Indefinite Article, in that unit we learnt that Indefinite Articles are used before  common, singular and countable nouns. Unlike Indefinite Articles, we have only one Definite Article (The) and is used with proper or definite nouns. It can be used with singular and plural nouns and also with countable and uncountable nouns.

Video Tutorial in English

Video Tutorial in Urdu

To use Definite Article before a noun, a rule of thumb is that, it has to be a proper or definite noun. To learn and use Definite Article properly, you need to remember the following:

Definite Article is used:

  1. When we talk about a particular person or a thing or one already mentioned (a common noun becomes proper when mentioned again).


        The car you want has been sold.

        Let's go to the park

        The boy who we met last Friday was murdered last night.

        I bought a cat yesterday. The cat is black.

Note: The above mentioned usage  is the most important use of Definite Article and is a part of daily life conversation. When  a speaker and a listener both know what they are talking about it becomes proper. Example 1 shows that both the speaker and the listener know the car they are talking about. 

Example 2 shows that both the speaker and listener know about the park which makes it proper. In Example 3, imagine that your friend and you met a boy last Friday for the the first time. Last night the same boy was murdered. You called your friend to inform him and said "The boy who we met last Friday was murdered last night".  You are saying "The boy " not "A boy" because both your friend and you know which boy you are talking about.

In Example 4, you can see that when I first mentioned the cat I used  "A" before cat. When I told more about the same cat, I used "The" before cat. Because a common noun becomes proper when mentioned again.

If you still have any questions regarding this use of Definite Article, you can contact me using the Contact form.

  1. When a singular noun is meant to represent a whole class.


            The cat is a pet animal.

            The cow is a useful animal.

  1. Before the names of oceans, seas and rivers:

            Example             The Arctic Ocean, The Red Sea , The Nile.

  1. Before the names of Canals:


            The Panama Canal, The Suez Canal.

  1. Before the names of deserts:


            The Sahara, The Kalahari Desert , The Cholistan.

  1. Before the names of groups of islands:


            The Maldives Islands, The West Indies.

  1. Before the names of mountain ranges:


             The Himalayas, The Hindu Kush.

  1. Before the names of countries which include Republic, Kingdom and United:

            Example:             The United Arab Emirates, The United States of America , The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

  1. Before the names of holy books:


            The Holy Quran, The Holy Bible, The Holy Torah.

  1. Before the names of things one of their kind:


            The Sun, The Moon ,The Earth.

  1. Before a proper noun when it is qualified by an adjective:


            The Great Caesar, The Immortal Shakespeare. (The Caesar X, The Shakespeare X)

  1. With superlative degree of an adjective:


            The darkest cloud, The best book.

  1. With ordinal (The number designating place in an ordered sequence)


            The first, The second , The third.

  1. Before the names of musical instruments:


            The piano, The guitar, The violin.

Using Articles, whether Definite or Indefinite, requires a lot of practice. You must read, listen, write and speak as much as possible to practice the use of Definite and Indefinite Articles. That's all in this lesson , Happy Learning!!!

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