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Sunday, 23 April 2017

Use of the word ‘the’

Use of the word ‘the’

We use the:
- when there is only one of something in a particular area: the government, the police, the bridge, the river, the hospital

- when there is only one in the entire world: the internet, the environment, the ozone layer, the atmosphere

-  with ordinal numbers: the first, the second, the third

-  with superlatives: the worst, the shortest, the lowest, the most beautiful, the least impressive

- with places where the name refers to a group of islands or states: the USA, the UK, the Maldives, the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates

- before nouns which describe general things: exercise is good for the body, the motorbike is the most common form of transport in Asia, the role of the teacher has changed in recent years

- before abstract nouns used to describe a situation, process, quality or a change: over the years the development of the town accelerated, the frequency of violent crime decreased over the period, the improvement in living standards

We don’t use the:
- to talk generally we drop the word ‘the’ and use the plural: dogs don’t like cats, people with dyslexia have reading problems, Japanese cars are very reliable, German products are very high quality.

- with a single place or country: Ireland, China, Vietnam, Europe, South America