Learn the correct use of "the"

Use of articles

Speaking and writing correct English essentially means using the correct articles. An incorrectly used article can at times change the complete meaning of the word or the sentence.

The family of articles comprises of three. They are – ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’

While ‘a’ and ‘an’ are definite articles, used with countable nouns.

‘The’ is a definite article.

Use of ‘an’ depends on the word succeeding it. It is also called as “determiner”.

Where should you use “the”?

The is used before”

1. The superlative degree:


a. He is the richest man of the city. (richest is a superlative degree)
b. She is the most intelligent girl of the class (most intelligent is a superlative degree)

Tip: Third form of an adjective is called a superlative degree. To be able to identify the right place to use “the”, learn the superlative forms of various words and keep an eye out for them when you speak or write.

2. The names of the scriptures:


a. The Ramayana is a holy book. (Gita is a scripture)
b. The Bible is read by Christians.

3. Name of newspaper:


a. The Times of India is published by Bennet & Coleman.
b. The Deccan Herald is a Hyderabad based newspaper.

4. Names of rivers, canals, seas, oceans, bays, gulfs, groups of islands, etc.:


a. The Yamuna flows through Delhi.
b. The Pacific ocean is the largest ocean.
c. The Indira Gandhi Canal is the longest canal in India and the largest irrigation project in the world
d. The Gulf of Kutch is an inlet of the Arabian Sea along the west coast of India.

5. The names of famous buildings:


The Qutab Minar is situated in Delhi.

The Prime Minister of India delivers his independence day speech from the Red Fort.

6. The names of nationals, sections and communities:


a. The English won over the Germans in final match of football.
b. The rich should help the poor.
c. The Gurjars hail from Rajasthan.

7. Proper nouns used as common nouns:

a. Kalidas is the Shakespeare of India.
b. Kashmir is the Switzerland of India.

Tip: What is worth noting here is that 'the' article is used only before the second noun and not before the first.

8. Famous historical events:


a. The Green Revolution made India self-sufficient in supply of grains.
b. The World War II caused a major destruction in the history of mankind.

9. The directions:


a. The sun rises in the east.
b. The Himalayas are towards the north of India

10. Names of unique things: as the sun, the moon etc.:


a. The sun and the moon are lamps of heavens.
b. The Venus lights up the morning sky.

11. Titles given to the individuals:


a. Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, the Iron man of India belonged to Gujarat.
b. Sarojini Naidu, the Nightingale of India was a famous freedom fighter.

12. Comparative degree (second form) of adjective when there is a sense of proportion:


a. The higher you go, the lighter you feel.
b. The deeper the well, the cooler the water.

13. Adjectives of comparative degree when you mean selection:


a. She is the more intelligent one of the two students.
b. He is the faster runner of the two for Olympic.

14. The names of states, countries etc. with a descriptive name:


a. The Meghalaya is towards the north-east of India. (Arunachal is a descriptive name)
b. He lives in the U.K. (U.K. is a descriptive name)

(But the Delhi and the America are wrong because neither Delhi nor America is a descriptive name).