Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 13 Uses of 'THE' - Articles (a, an, the) - Lesson 2 - English Grammar

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Welcome back.

This is lesson two of my series on


If you havent seen the first lesson, you

will find the link to the full playlist below.

Alright, in this lesson, I will show you 13 uses of

the definite article – ‘the’.

As always, theres a quiz at the end to test

your understanding.

Use number one is something we discussed in

the previous lesson.

This is also the most important


Use 'the' to talk about a person or thing known to

your listener.

For example, "Julie has a nine-year-old son.

The boy wants to be an astronaut."

Here, I first say 'a nine-year old son' because

you don't know him yet.

But once I have introduced him in the sentence, I

then say 'The boy' because he is now known to you.

Here's another example: "Can you answer the


If I say this to you, then there's probably

a phone ringing somewhere.

So the phone is already known to you, and I say

'the phone'.

And finally, "This is the watch that my sister gave

me for my birthday."

This example is a little

different because if I stop with "This is the

watch" - you will be confused because you don't

know the watch.

But then if I give you more

information about the watch - it's the watch

that my sister gave me for my birthday - so that way

it becomes known to you.

Let's now move on to use number two: use 'the' with

unique thingsthat is, where there is only one of


For example, we saythe sun’ (because

theres only one sun).

Similarly, ‘the moon’, ‘the sky’, ‘the world’,

the universeand so on.

Here are a couple of sentences: "Everyone knows

that the sun rises in the east." and "Rahul has

traveled all over the world."

Some other things we consider unique arethe

government’, 'the police', 'the Internet' and so on.

As in these sentences: “The police are

investigating a murder in our neighborhood.”

andAlmost everybody uses the

Internet today.”

OK the next use is with some words referring to

nature or the environment in a general way.

These are words such as the

countryside (which means rural or village areas),

the town, the mountains, the weather etc.

For example, "My son enjoys

spending time in the countryside."

It means my son likes to spend time

relaxing in rural areas.

Here are a couple more sentences: "We're going to

take a trip to the mountains."

and "I love the weather in Los


Use number four is talking about objects of common

experience like in the expressions that you see

on the screen.

We say that these are objects of

common experience because we all experience these in

our lives.

Have a look at this example: "I met an

interesting man at the park yesterday."

You may not know which park but it

doesn't matter - the park is common experience.

In the same way "Did you read the newspaper this


I don't care which newspaper you read,

I just want to know if read one today.

Here's another example: "Darren

likes to sing in the shower."

We also use 'the ' with some types of media

(including the word 'media' itself) and also

forms of entertainment.

For example, "I don't listen to the radio a lot

these days."

orPooja is at the movies with her


Note that 'at the movies' means at a

movie theatre.

But it's important to note that TV doesn't work this


You can use 'the' with TV if you mean a

television set.

Like "Will you help me move the TV?"

But if you mean television as a medium, then you say

'on TV' - as in "I saw a documentary on TV today."

Not 'on the TV'.

It's just a crazy rule in English.

Let's move on to use number five now.

Use 'the' with some time


You see these on the screen - we always

use 'the' in these expressions.

For example, "Kids hate getting up early in the

morning.", "A friend of mine got married the day

before yesterday."

and "We love to go swimming in the


We also saythe past’, ‘the presentandthe

futureprobably because there's only one past,

present and future.

Like in this sentence: "We must

learn our lessons from the past and work towards the


'The' is also found in time expressions likethe

eighteenth century’, 'the 1960s' (or simply 'the

60s') and so on.

For example, "This house was

built by my grandfather in the sixties."

Now you have to be a little careful with time

expressions because there are many that should be

used without articles.

You see some of these on the


We will discuss these more in the next

lesson when we talk about where to use no article.

The next use is superlative forms.

These are expressions likethe

best’, ‘the worst’, ‘the biggest’, ‘the smallest

and so on.

For example, "Mrs. Benson is the best

teacher I've ever had.", "Liechtenstein is one of

the smallest countries in the world."

and "In my opinion, family is the

most important thing in life."

Remember that these are all fixedyou must

usethein all superlative forms.

Alright, here's use number seven.

Use 'the' with words such as 'first',

'second', 'third', 'previous', 'next' and so

on when they are used as adjectives.

That means we put 'the' when these words appear

before a noun.

For example, "Neil Armstrong

was the first person to walk on the moon.", "When

is the next presidential election?", "Hurry up or

you're going to miss the last bus."

"Is it important for friends to

have the same interests?".

"Rachel is the only one here who has a driver's


But remember that when any of these words are not

adjectives, that is they don't come before a noun,

we normally don't use 'the'.

Like in these sentences: “Habib came

third in the race.”

theres nothebefore

thirdbecause its not modifying a noun, andI

only have four cookies left” – ‘onlyis an

adverb here, so nothe’.

Use number eight is with names of musical


We saythe guitar’, ‘the violin’,

the piano’, 'the saxophone' and so on.

For example, "Heidi plays the


or "Is the violin easy to learn?"

So remember to put 'the'

before names of musical instruments.

In the same way, to talk about scientific

inventions, we often usethe’.

For example, “The telephone was invented by

Alexander Graham Bell.” andSome say that the

Internet is the most important invention of the

20th century.”

The next use oftheis when we talk about body


Now, usually we just use possessive forms

like my, your, his, her etc. with these.

For example: “She held my hand

and told me she loved me.”

But when we want to talk about something bad

happening to a body part, we usethe ’: “The

suspect was shot in the back while running from

the police.”

Notice I didnt sayin his back’,

I saidin the back.’

Similarly, “I was standing by the side of the road

and a tennis ball hit me in the eye.”

So we can say in the eye, on the nose,

on the head, in the stomach, in the arm, in

the leg etc.

Use number eleven is referring to place names.

Now, normally, we use NO ARTICLE when we refer to

names of places.

We say Canada, India, South

Africa, Paris, New Delhi, San Francisco and so on.

As in these sentences: "I'm going to Canada on a

business trip next week."

or "Vincent lives in New Delhi."

But some places have 'the' as part of the name.

These can be countries like the

United States or the Netherlands, or it can be

regions such as the Middle East or the Baltics.

In these cases, you have to

put 'the' in their names.

There are many other place names that have 'the' in


You see a list on your screen.

So with names of seas and oceans,

rivers, mountain ranges, island groups and deserts,

we use 'the'.

This is also true for names of certain

types of buildings like hotels, theaters and


If you want, stop the video and have a look

at these.

Here are some examples: "Oman is a country in the

Middle East."

You see that there's no 'the' before

'Oman' but we say 'the Middle East.’, "The Alps

are the largest mountain range in Europe.”, “We

stayed at the Ritz Carlton hotel on our last visit to


andCan you get us tickets to the

concert at the Sydney Opera House this weekend?”

Let's move on to use number twelve - this is

using 'the' with family names.

Now if you watched the previous lesson, you

know that we don't use 'the' with names of


However, this is an exception.

We use 'the' + a family name in the

plural form to refer to the family as a single


For example, "We live next door to the Smiths -

they're great neighbors!"

This means, the family name is "Smith" - they

might have "John Smith", "Mary Smith" and so on in

the family.

But we make the family name plural to

refer to the entire family.

Here's another example: "The Garcias have

invited us to go on a picnic with them this


Here, what's the family name?

It's 'Garcia' - when we make it plural,

we say 'the Garcias'.

Alright, lets now turn to our final use ofthe’ –

this is using wordtheto generalize, meaning to

refer to people or things generally.

We normally do this withthe’ + a

singular countable noun that represents a group.

For example, “The small business owner faces more

competition today than ever before.”

Here, Im not referring to a

specific business owner but small business owners


In fact I could saySmall business owners

face more competition today than ever before.”

it has the same meaning.

Heres another example – “The blue whale is the

largest animal on the planet.”

I could also sayBlue whales are the

largest animals on the planet.”

Its also very common to use the + an adjective to

refer to a group.

We do this commonly in these

expressions: the rich, the poor, the unemployed, the

elderly etc.

The meaning isrich people’, ‘poor

people’, ‘unemployed people’, ‘elderly people

and so on.

Heres an example sentence: “Many people say

that the government must create more job

opportunities for the unemployed.”

meaningfor unemployed people’.

We also use the same form to refer to certain

nationalities that you see on the screen.

For example, “The Japanese are

very polite people.”

Notice here that when I saythe Japanese’, Im

referring to the Japanese people, not the Japanese


Its the same thing with all the other

nationalities here.

Alright, if youre ready, its now time for a quiz

to see if you can use the definite articlethe


On the screen, there are eight sentences.

In each sentence, I want you to

putthewherever necessary.

OK, stop the video, try the exercise,

then play the video and check.

OK, here are the answers.

You can stop the video and check them with your

answers if you like.

In the comments section, let

me know how you many got correct.

If youre not sure about any of these,

feel free to ask me in the comments and I will help

you out.

Alright, if you liked this lesson, give it a thumbs

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Happy learning and I will see you in the

next lesson soon.

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