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All / The–definite

Referring to all in general versus a definite one

 

 

 

All vs. The-definite (identified)

ALL—INDEFINITE (NOT IDENTIFIED)

No article is used when mentioning something in general (true for all of its kind). A count noun takes the plural form (e.g. crackers, classes, cars). A noncount noun takes the simplie form (e.g. salami, cheese, milk).

Salami is very salty.  (non-count noun)

crackers in generalCrackers are salty. (count noun)

classes in generalClasses always fill up quickly.

people in generalPeople head for the beach in the summer.

car People prefer to drive their own vehicles (cars).

Salami in general
THE—DEFINITE (AN IDENTIFIED ONE)

The article the is used before a noun. when mentioning something that is definite (identified by earlier or later mention, by common knowledge, by name, by descriptive phrase, as an expected part of a mentioned item).

salami - specific oneThe salami on the right is very salty.

crackersThe crackers on the right are salty.

classes in specificThe classes at my gym always fill up quickly.

people-specificallyThe people in my area head for beach in the summer.

bicycleThe people that I know prefer to ride a bicycle.  

 

Noncount noun

unspecific and indefinite — Salami is tasty. (True for any and all salami.)

specific but indefinite — Some salami would go well with this cheese  (some salami but which salami?)

specific and definite — The salami on this plate is delicious. (We know or see which one did it.)

Count noun

unspecific and indefinite — Crackers are tasty.

unspecific and indefinite — A cracker is tasty. (True for any cracker.)

specific but indefinite — A cracker would go well with this salami (a cracker but which one?)

specific and definite — The cracker that you gave me was tasty. (We know which cracker.)

 

 

 

 

 

All / The

Language – People

 

 

Language vs. the People

LANGUAGE

Use no article before a language.

English spoken here
English is spoken here.
LANGUAGE: Spanish Japanese, Chinese,
Portuguese, Chinese, Swahili, etc.

THE PEOPLE

Use the before the national name of the people.

The English
The English are a proud people.
PEOPLE: The Japanese, The Chinese,
The Portuguese, The Spaniards, etc.

 

See – A - Nationality Names

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

ERROR SOLUTION

*The life is difficult for me in my country.

Life is difficult for me in my country.

*After sailing for five weeks, Christopher Columbus saw a land.

After sailing for five weeks, Christopher Columbus saw land(generic, not specific)

*The English is a hard language for me to learn.

English is a hard language for me to learn.

*The Englishes sent their navy to defeat the Spanishes.

The English sent their navy to defeat the Spanish.

*Alice in a Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll   book title
 

*Yellow highlighted words are examples of incorrect usage.

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

People are Funny

cafe people

 

 

 

Generalize – choose the article forms that refer to all.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

1.
a little before sitting down.    to claim .  You wouldn't think that moving a chair an inch would make a difference, but apparently it does.
    I've never understood this.    You wouldn't think that moving a chair an inch would make a difference, but apparently it does.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Graffiti Art

graffiti

 

 

 

All in general or a specific one?

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

graffiti.org

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fine (n.) – money that you have to pay as a punishment

illegal (adj.) – against the law

portfolios (n.) – an artist's printed collection of work

praise (n.) – expressing approval that someone did something well