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Unit 12. Main uses of "the"
(основные применения определенного артикля the)

Main points

1. The is called the definite article and is the commonest determiner. You use "the" when the person you are talking to knows which person or thing you mean. You can use "the" in front of any noun whether it is a singular count noun an uncount noun or a plural count noun.

She dropped the can.

I remembered the fun I had with them.

The girls were not at home.

2. You use "the" with a noun when you are referring back to someone or something that has already been mentioned.

I called for a waiter … … The waiter with a moustache came.

I have bought a house in Wales … … The house is in an agricultural area.

3. You use "the" with a noun and a qualifier such as a prepositional phrase or a relative clause when you are specifying which person or thing you are talking about.

I've no idea about the geography of Scotland.

The book that I recommended now costs over three pounds.

4. You use "the" with a noun when you are referring to something of which there is only one in the world.

They all sat in the sun.

We have landed men on the moon.

The sky was a brilliant blue.

You also use "the" when you are referring to something of which there is only one in a particular place.

Mrs Robertson heard that the church had been bombed.

He decided to put some words on the blackboard.

5. You can use "the" with a singular count noun when vou want to make a general statement about all things of that type. For example, if you say "The whale is the largest mammal in the world", you mean all whales, not one particular whale.

The computer allows us to deal with a lot of data very quickly.

My father's favourite flower is the rose.

6. You can use "the" with a singular count noun when you are referring to a system or service. For example, you can use "the phone" to refer to a telephone system and "the bus" to refer to a bus service.

I don't like using the phone.

How long does it take on the train?

7. You can use "the" with the name of a musical instrument when you are talking about someone's ability to play the instrument.

"You play the guitar, I see," said Simon.

Geoff plays the piano very well.

Unit 12. Main uses of the

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