Usage of “The”
  1. Something Unique: “The” is used with specific nouns. “The” is required when the noun it accompanies refers to something that is one of a kind.
For e.g.: The moon circles the earth.
The White House in Washington
2. Second reference: “A” or “an” is used to introduce a noun when it is mentioned for the first time in a piece of writing. “The” is used afterward each time you mention that same noun.
For e.g.: A newspaper has an obligation to seek out and tell the truth. There are situations, however, when the newspaper must determine whether the public's safety is jeopardized by knowing the truth.

  • “The” is used with non countable nouns that are made more specific by a limiting modifying phrase or clause.

For e.g.: [No article] Coffee is a popular drink.
The coffee in my cup is too hot to drink.


[No article] Japanese was his native language.
The Japanese he speaks is often heard in the countryside.

[No article] Intelligence is difficult to quantify.
The intelligence of animals is variable but undeniable.


  • “The” is used with geographical places/areas.

For e.g.: the Middle East, the West, the Sea of Japan, the Mississippi

  • “The” is used with points of the globe.

For e.g.: the Equator, the North Pole

  • “The” is used with names of the rivers, seas and oceans.

For e.g.: The Nile, The Amazon, The Pacific, The Black Sea
  1. “The” is used with deserts, forests, gulfs, and peninsulas
For e.g.: the Sahara, the Persian Gulf, the Black Forest, the Iberian Peninsula
  1. “The” is used with pluralized names (geographic, family, teams).
For e.g.: the Netherlands, the Bahamas, the Hamptons, the Johnsons, and the New England Patriots
  1. “The” is used with public institutions / facilities / groups
For e.g.: the Wadsworth Athenaeum, the Sheraton, the House, the Presbyterian Church
  1. “The” is also used with names of the newspapers
For e.g.: the Hartford Courant, the Times of India
  1. “The” is also used with nouns followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with "of".
For e.g.: the leader of the gang, the president of our club
Do not use “the” before
  1. Names of countries (Italy, Mexico, Bolivia) except the Netherlands and the US
  2. Names of cities, towns, or states (Seoul, Manitoba, Miami)
  3. Names of streets (Washington Blvd., Main St.)
  4. Names of lakes and bays (Lake Titicaca, Lake Erie) except with a group of lakes like the Great Lakes
  5. Names of mountains (Mount Everest, Mount Fuji) except with ranges of mountains like the Andes or the Rockies or unusual names like the Matterhorn
  6. Names of continents (Asia, Europe)
  7. Names of islands (Easter Island, Maui, Key West) except with island chains like the Aleutians, the Hebrides, or the Canary Islands