What is a DEFINITE ARTICLE?

Out of over 171,476 words listed in the Oxford English Dictionary, which is comprised of all the words in the English language, the is one of the most frequently used. The reason for this is because it is the ONLY definite article. When speaking or writing in English, nouns are preceded by a definite article, which is the.

 

 

Definite articles are used in front of ALL nouns to describe something or someone specific that has already been mentioned, when you know there is only one item in a location, even if it has not been mentioned previously, before superlatives, when referring to a whole group of people, and following clauses introduced by only!

 The is used when referring to something you have already stated. 

Some examples:

  • Teachers use props to help illustrate their point. The props can be anything tangible related to the lesson.
  • I have been working for iTutor for a while now. Working for the company is a great way to share my love of reading!
  • Having group discussions can really help build understanding. The discussions can be tailored to the class.

The words in italics are the definite articles being introduced by the which have been mentioned either in the previous sentence or earlier in the same sentence. Example: Not any company, but iTutor.

 The is used when naming something singular, even if you haven’t mentioned it previously.

Some examples:

  • I did a practice session in the classroom
  • Where is the consultant tab?
  • My students really enjoyed the lesson I taught.

The words in italics are the definite articles being introduced by the and represent the specific item being discussed. Example: Not any classroom, but the classroom that you did your practice session in.

 The is used when referring to a whole group of people.

Some examples:

  • The younger students enjoy puppets and animals as props.
  • She has given a lot of energy and love to the students.

 

The words in italics are the definite articles being introduced by the and represent the group. Example: Not the older students, but the younger ones and not one student, but all of them.

 The is used before superlatives (words describing something at its highest or greatest point).

Some examples:

  • Thomas was the oldest student in the class this morning.
  • This is the fifth class I’ve taught today.
  • The final class in a level should be a cumulation review of all the material covered.

The words in italics are the definite articles being introduced by the and represent the level of the noun. Example: Thomas was the oldest, not youngest or second-to-oldest and it was the final class, not the first or the middle class.

The is used when clauses are following “only”.

Some examples:

  • The only time I begin a lesson late is if we are waiting for a students’ connection to be restored.

The words in italics are the definite articles being introduced by the and represent the period of time defined by only. Example: The only time represents one specific time, which limits it from being any other time.

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