Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The use of definite article ‘The’

The definite article is used before singular and plural nouns when the noun is specific or particular. ‘The’ signals that the noun is definite, that it refers to a particular member of a group.

For example: "The girl that wear a red shirt is my daughter.” In this case, we're talking about a specific girl, the girl that wear a red shirt.

Count and Non-count Nouns
You can use article 'The' or not use it with the non-count nouns. For example: He spilled the coke all over the floor". 'the coke' means some specific coke, it may be the coke you bought earlier that day; or "He spilled  coke all over the floor".  'coke' written without the means any coke.

Geographical use of 'The'
  • Do not use the before: names of most countries/territories: Italy, Mexico, Bolivia; however, pay attention to some of this countries: the Netherlands, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, the United States 
  •  Names of cities, towns, or states: Seoul, Manitoba, Miami,Jakarta>
  • Names of streets: Washington Blvd., Main St., Pemuda St 
  • Names of lakes and bays: Lake Tempe, Lake Toba, except with a group of lakes like the Great Lakes names of mountains: Mount Everest, Mount Fuji , Mount Merapi, except with ranges of mountains like  the Rockies.
  • Names of continents : Asia, Europe, Africa, America, Australia.
  • Names of islands : Java Island, Sumatra Island, Bali Island, except with island chains like  the Canary Islands

 Do use the before:
  • Names of rivers, oceans and seas: the Nile, the Pacific 
  • Points on the globe: the Equator, the North Pole geographical areas: the Middle East, the West deserts, forests, gulfs, and peninsulas: the Sahara, the Persian Gulf, the Black Forest, the Iberian Peninsula 
Omission of Articles
Some common types of nouns that don't take an article are:
  • Names of languages and nationalities: Chinese, English, Spanish, Russian  >
  • Names of sports: volleyball, hockey, baseball 
  • Names of academic subjects: mathematics, biology, history, computer science

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