There are two types of articles: definite and indefinite. A/An are indefinite articles and The is a definite article.
|Used with a non-specific (indefinite) noun that starts with a consonant.||Used with a non-specific (indefinite) noun that starts with a vowel.||Used with a specific (definite) noun.||Used with generalized nouns.|
|Used to indicate a singular noun||Used to indicate singular or plural nouns|
When the u is long (university) use a
When the u is short (umbrella) use an
When the h is pronounced (house) use a
When the h is silent (hour) use an
|If the noun has already been mentioned, use the for the second reference. He has an umbrella. The umbrella is red.||Psychology is the study of the mind. Cats are interesting animals.|
Use the when:
- It is a specific nounExample. The umbrella on the table is mine.
- It is the second time the noun has been named and defined (unless an adjective has been used)Example. Our teacher told us we have a test next class. The test is going to cover everything we’ve studied since our midterm.
- Specificity can be inferred from the contextExample. My computer broke down yesterday. Luckily, my cousin can fix the problem.
- The noun is something that is unique or generally knownExample. Celine Dion, the singer, is from Quebec.
- Used with the______ of ______Example. The United States of America or the United Kingdom
- The noun is representative or abstractExample. The beaver is on the Canadian nickel.
- Using plural nounsExample. He told the students to hand in their work on Friday.
- Using superlatives
(the biggest, the most interesting, the least entertaining, the shortest)Example. The tallest building in the world used to be the CN Tower.