Grammar-QuizzesNoun PhrasesDeterminersArticles › The–Definite One

"The" Definite One

Refer to an actual, known one

 

 

 

The-definite (identified) vs. All

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.  

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 simple form (e.g. salami, cheese, milk).

Salami in generalSalami is very salty.  (noncount noun)

crackers in generalCrackers are salty. (count noun)

(also called crisps, thins, biscuits)

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).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The" with Nouns

Singular/Plural and Noncount

 

 

 

Count vs Noncount Nouns

COUNT NOUNS

The is used with a count noun when referring to a specific or definite one (singular) or ones (plural).

COUNT—SPECIFIC & DEFINITE

The cracker in my hand is tasty. A definite one.

The crackers in my hand are tasty. Some definite ones.

SPECIFIC & INDEFINITE

A cracker would be tasty with this salami.  An unknown one.

Some crackers would be tasty with this salami. Some unknown ones.

UNSPECIFIC & INDEFINITE

Crackers are tasty.   All crackers.

A cracker is tasty.  Any cracker.

NONCOUNT NOUNS

The is used with a noncount noun when referring to a specific or definite mass, group or quantity.

NONCOUNT—UNSPECIFIC & INDEFINITE

The salami on that plate is tasty. A known one.

UNSPECIFIC & INDEFINITE

Some salami would be tasty with this cracker.   True for an unknown one.

UNSPECIFIC & INDEFINITE

Salami is tasty.   True for all salami.

 

A count noun is a unit, an item in a group that can be counted. A number can be placed before it: three crackers. It can take the plural form. Most count nouns belong to a collective group which is a noncount noun.  Occasionally, a noncount noun ends in -s : news, measles, mathematics, series, means (These are word forms that happen to end in -s.)

A noncount noun is a group, mass or collective noun. It is not countable because it is too small, a particle, liquid, gas, or a concept or activity. A noncount or collective noun takes the singular form .

 

 

 

 

 

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

portfolio (N) – an artist's printed collection of work

praise (N) – expressing approval that someone did something well