viernes, 6 de octubre de 2017

The use of "THE"

Articles are confusing because it’s not always necessary to use an article in English. Sometimes it’s easier to remember when NOT to use something instead of trying to memorize when to use something... so let´s start with those situations in which you don’t need to use "the":

1. Things in general
Cats are great pets!(You’re not talking about one specific cat or one specific pet. You’re talking about all cats and all pets in general.)
I love reading books.
Houses are expensive in that neighbourhood.
Americans drive big cars.

Use non-count nouns: I love listening to music. (You enjoy music in general, not any specific song or kind of music.)
She’s afraid of heights, so we couldn’t go to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
I love chocolate!
Have you eaten lunch yet?
She’s a vegetarian. She doesn’t eat meat.

2. Names
Names of holidays, countries, companies, languages, etc. are all proper nouns. 

a. Holidays
I got a beautiful new dress for Christmas.
I got my mom a necklace for Mother’s Day.

b. Geography
I live in Canada.
I’m going to Europe next month on vacation.

c. Companies
I use Twitter and Facebook every day.
Bill Gates founded Microsoft.

d. Universities
Her son graduated from Harvard.
She goes to Oxford.

e. Languages
I am studying Russian.
I speak French.

3. Places, locations, streets

I left my book at home.
I have to go to work early tomorrow.
NOTE: You don’t need an article for subjects you study at school: Maths, Geography, History, Science.
Places where you DO need to use an article:
I need to go to the bank.
Let’s go to the movies.
My dad is in the hospital.
She works at the post office.
What time do you have to be at the airport?
Please drop me off at the bus stop.
She doesn’t like to go to the doctor or the dentist.

4. Sports and other physical activities :

I love to go skiing in the winter.
I play football every day after school.

5. Noun + number

The train to Paris leaves from platform 2.
My English class is in room 6 on the first floor.
6. Acronyms
An acronym is an abbreviation (a short form) of a name. It uses the first letter of each word to form a new word.
a. If the acronym is pronounced as a word, don’t use the.
NATO ambassadors met to discuss the situation..
UNESCO is the acronym used for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (UNESCO is pronounced as one word, /ju’nɛskoʊ/.)

You need to use the before acronyms when the letters arepronounced individually, not as a word.
The UN was created after the Second World War.

Other acronyms that need the: The EU, The US, The CIA, The FBI

b. The is not used before university acronyms:
John Smith got his MBA at UCLA.
She has a Ph.D. from MIT.

And now when to use "the": 
The definite article the is the most frequent word in English and we use it in front of a noun when we believe the hearer/reader knows exactly what we mean.
• because there is only one:
The Pope is visiting us.
The Moon is very bright tonight.
This is why we use the definite article with a superlative adjective:
He is the tallest boy in the class.
It is the oldest building in the town.
• because there is only one in that place or in those surroundings:
        We live in a small village next to the church. (the only church in our village)
        Dad, can I borrow the car? (the car that belongs to our family)
• because we have already mentioned it:
A woman who fell 10 metres from High Peak was lifted to safety by a helicopter. The woman fell while climbing.
We also use the definite article:
• to say something about all the things referred to by a noun:
The wolf is not really a dangerous animal (= Wolves are not really dangerous animals)
The kangaroo is found only in Australia (= Kangaroos are found only in Australia)
We use the definite article in this way to talk about musical instruments:
Joe plays the piano really well.(= Joe can play any piano)
• to refer to a system or service:
How long does it take on the train?
I heard it on the radio.
You should tell the police.
• With adjectives like rich, poor, elderly, unemployed to talk about groups of people:
Life can be very hard for the poor.
I think the rich should pay more taxes.
She works for a group to help the disabled.

The definite article with names:

We do not normally use the definite article with names:
William Shakespeare wrote Hamlet.
Paris is the capital of France.
But we do use the definite article with:
• countries whose names include words like kingdomstates or republic:
the United Kingdom; the United States; the People’s Republic of China.
• countries which have plural nouns as their names:
The Netherlands; The Philippines
• geographical features, such as mountain ranges, groups of islands, rivers, seas, oceans and canals:
The Himalayas; The Canaries; The Atlantic Ocean; The Amazon.
• newspapers:
The Times; The Washington Post
• well known buildings or works of art:
the Empire State Building; the Taj Mahal; the Mona Lisa; the Sunflowers
• organisations:
the United Nations; the Seamen’s Union
• hotelspubs and restaurants*:
the Ritz; the Ritz Hotel; the King’s Head; the Déjà Vu
*Note: We do not use the definite article if the name of the hotel or restaurant is the name of the owner, e.g.,Brown’s; Brown’s Hotel; Morel’s; Morel’s Restaurant, etc.
• families:
The Simpsons, The Obamas; The Jacksons

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