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When should you use the word ‘the’ in English?

Today, in #1 of the Top 15 Fixes series, we discuss the most common article in the English language, ‘the’!

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Use if the word ‘the’ can be a confusing.  But there are some rules that can help you get it right most of the time.

 

The first requires that you consider whether the focus is on something specific, or something more general.

When focused on specific items, use ‘the’.  If you’re sitting at a table, talking about the food that is actually in front of you, you might say:

  • “Do you like the turkey?”
  • “Yes, the turkey is great!”
  • “Could you please pass the salt?”

When focused on more general terms, you don’t use ‘the’.  If you’re discussing food in general, you might say:

  • “Do you like turkey?”
  • “Have you tried pumpkin pie?”
  • “Cranberries are too tart for me.”

 

Geographical terms can also be tricky for ‘the’.  In most cases, large, well-known geographic places will have ‘the': the content, the Pacific Ocean, the moon.

With specific countries, a country’s formal name might require ‘the,’ while a less formal name might not: the United States, the Russian Federation; America, Russia.

 

Other Entries in the 15 Fixes Series:

 

What have you found difficult about ‘the’?

Tell us all about it in the comments section below!

Direct download: AEE_221_When_to_Use_The_at_Thanksgiving_Dinner.mp3
Category:All Ears English -- posted at: 1:00am EDT