In part 2 of this series, we spoke of some situations when the definite article the is generally used.
Comparatively speaking, there are more rules for using the definite article than the indefinite variety, a or an. Another thing to remember is that the can appear before singular as well as plural nouns.
Here are some more rules to help you.
When to use the
6. Referring to an entire group of people
The aged are generally reluctant to use any form of technology.
[aged = a collective reference to people who are very old]
The Swiss are known for their ability to manufacture world-class watches.
[Swiss = a collective reference to citizens of Switzerland]
7. Before the names of countries which have a common noun such as ‘republic’, ‘united’, ‘states’, or which sound plural
Dubai is arguably the most popular city in the United Arab Emirates.
My cousin works in the Philippines.
8. Before the names of newspapers
I met a journalist who works for the Independent at yesterday’s party.
The Sun is one of the most widely read newspapers in the UK.
9. Before the names of most hotels and restaurants
I’ve booked us a table at the Canopy, owned by the famous chef Marcus.
Let’s meet at the Swan, the pub near Graeme’s house.
Remember, this rule does not apply if the hotel or restaurant is named after a person.
10. Before the names of families
We’re having dinner with the Watsons tonight.
The Kanes are an amazingly talented bunch.
11. Before the names of rivers, seas, mountain groups, island groups, and deserts
Debbie’s new apartment overlooks the Thames.
My uncle and aunt are holidaying in the West Indies.
The Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world.
12. Before the names of most museums, art galleries, monuments, and famous buildings
The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, is a spectacular structure.
Have you ever been to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra?
And here’s something interesting to end with: the definite article is pronounced differently depending on what word follows it. If it appears before a word beginning with a consonant sound, we pronounce it like ‘thuh’; if it is before a word beginning with a vowel sound, we pronounce it like ‘thee’.