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