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determiner strongthe pronunciation in British English /ðiː/ weakthe pronunciation in British English /ðə/ the pronunciation in British English /ði/
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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
    The average university student is not very interested in politics.
    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 byof
    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 Pacific Ocean
    the Thames
    the Sahara
    the Alps
    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
  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?
    a belief in the supernatural
    Synonyms and related words
  9. 9
    used before superlative adjectives and words such asfirst’, ‘second’, ‘next’, andlast
    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
     the pronunciation in British English /ðiː/ 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


a meal served in the evening which consists of foods traditionally eaten at breakfast

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