the - definition and synonyms

determiner strong

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The is used as the definite article before a noun.
  1. 1
    used when you are referring to a particular thing or person that has already been mentioned or is already known about

    Have you locked the door?

    I have to look after the children.

    A nurse brought me some bread and coffee, but the bread was stale and the coffee tasted of soap.

     Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      used when it is obvious which one you are referring to because there is only one

      The sun was hidden behind a cloud.

      the US president

      I’ll meet you outside the main entrance.

       Synonyms and related words
    2. b.
      used when you are referring to familiar things that people deal with regularly

      I looked up at the ceiling.

      Suddenly all the lights went out.

      a place to shelter from the wind and the rain

       Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    used before a singular noun when making a general statement about people or things of a particular type

    People have come to depend on the car as their only means of transport.

     Synonyms and related words
  3. 3
    used when referring to a part of a particular thing

    Take the top of the piece of paper and fold it so that it is even with the bottom.

     Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      used when referring to parts of the body

      He has a gunshot wound in the neck.

       Synonyms and related words
  4. 4
    used before dates or periods of time

    the 4th of July

    The next day he flew back to Paris.

    the 1930s/the eighties etc:

    popular music of the 1960s

     Synonyms and related words
  5. 5
    used when explaining which person or thing you are referring to

    Who was the actor who played Romeo?

    We live in the house with green shutters.

    We shall be interviewing Peter Carey, the author.

     Synonyms and related words
  6. 6
    used before a noun that refers to an action, especially when it is followed by ‘of’

    the destruction of a whole city

    the death of Princess Diana

    the burning of several houses

     Synonyms and related words
  7. 7
    used before the names of seas, rivers, deserts, or groups of mountains

    the Thames

    the Sahara

    the Alps

     Synonyms and related words
  8. 8
    used before an adjective to form a noun when you are referring to the type of thing that is described by the adjective
    the impossible/supernatural/unthinkable etc:

    Are we attempting to achieve the impossible?

     Synonyms and related words
  9. 9
    used before superlative adjectives and words such as ‘first’, ‘second’, ‘next’, and ‘last’

    the best hotel in Paris

    It was the first time I’d ever met a real live film star.

     Synonyms and related words
  10. 10
    used before an adjective to form a plural noun when you are referring to people of a particular type or people from a particular country
    the rich/poor/young/unemployed etc:

    a policy of taxing the rich to help the poor

    the French/British/Japanese etc:

    The Japanese eat a lot of seafood.

     Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      used before a plural name when you are referring to members of a particular family

      She’s been living with the Wilsons for nearly three months.

       Synonyms and related words
  11. 11
    [usually in negatives] used when saying whether there is enough of something for a particular purpose

    He didn’t have the strength to go on fighting.

    I’d like to start my own business – that’s what I’d do if I had the money.

     Synonyms and related words
  12. 12
    used when you are saying what type of musical instrument someone plays

    Lorna plays the violin.

     Synonyms and related words
  13. 13

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    used when a particular person, thing, or place that you are referring to is the famous one, or is the best or most fashionable

    ‘The man’s name was Alfred Hitchcock.’ ‘Not the Alfred Hitchcock?’

    For night-life, Juan-les-Pins is definitely the place.

     Synonyms and related words
  14. 14
    used before the name of a dish when ordering food, especially in an expensive restaurant

    I’d like the salmon, please.

     Synonyms and related words