The Definite Article

In English, we use the definite article (the) to talk about specific nouns. "The" talks about a particular person, place, or thing.

For example:
  • I asked the teacher a question.
There is only one teacher in the class, so it is clear that we are talking about that particular teacher.

When we want to talk about a noun in general (happiness, apples, or movies), we do not use an article.

For example:
  • History is a very important subject.
  • She really loves movies.
  • Crabs live in the sea and walk sideways.
In these sentences, it is not correct to use the definite article because we are not talking about a particular person, place, or thing.

When you practice speaking, you must remember that "the" can be pronounced in two different ways.

We pronounce it "thuh" before words that start with a consonant sound.

For example:
  • The book is on the table.
  • The concert was excellent.
But, we pronounce it "thee" before words that start with a vowel sound.

For example:
  • The answer is simple.
  • The asparagus is at the end of the aisle.

Visit the full article on this topic for a complete explanation of how to use and pronounce the definite article.