Created by Ivan.Butler about 6 years ago
1. Use 'a/an' for singular countable nouns - I eat a banana every day - I really want a dog this Christmas - I want to buy an apple for lunch2. Don't use 'a/an' or 'the' for plural countable nouns and uncountable nouns - I eat bananas every day - I eat rice every day (although you could say I eat a grain of rice every day!)3. You can use some or any with plural countable and uncountable nouns - I sang some songs with my friends - Did you buy any apples? - We listened to some music. - Did you buy some apple juice?
When do we use 'the'?1. When we are thinking of one particular thing or it is clear in the situation which thing or person we meant: - Can you turn of the light (the only light that is on in the room) - The apple is delicious (the apple I just ate, not any other apple) - I'm going to the bank (the bank I always go to)2. We use 'the' when there is only one of something - What is the longest river in the world? (there is only one longest river) - The earth goes around the sun and the moon goes around the earth - The sun is a star - Paris is the capital of France3. We use 'the' before 'same' (the same) - These two photos are the same4. We do not usually use 'the' with the names of meals - I want to eat breakfast - I will have dinner tonight5. We do not use 'the' before a noun + number - I want to go to platform 5
Don't use 'the' for names of people. We also don't usually use 'the' with names of places.
Don't use 'the' for:1. Continents - Africa is a huge continent - I want to go to South America2. Countries - Ireland is an island - Denmark is a small country3. States, regions - I am from Texas - It is very hot in Florida - Leinster is east of Connacht4. Islands - Sicily is an island off the Italian mainland - I will go to Hawaii for my holidays5. Mountains - Everest is the tallest mountain in the world6. Cities, towns, etc. - Washington D.C. is the capital of the USA - Rome is a beautiful city
There are times when we use 'the' for places and names:1. Some country names - The United Kingdom and the United States2. Mountain ranges - The Alps - The Rockies3. Plural names of people and places - The Smiths - The Phillippines - The Canary Islands4. North/northern, etc. - The north of France - Northern France5. Names of seas, oceans, rivers, canals - The Atlantic (Ocean) - Suez Canal - The Rhine
When to use 'the'