The Definite Article



We can use the definite article with all nouns, countable and uncountable, singular and plural:

the boy, the girls, the cat, the computers, the water


If the following word begins with a vowel, we say [ði], and if the following word begins with a consonant, we say [ðə].

“The” vs. No Article

We have listed some examples in the following table. There you can see when we need to use the definite article and when we don't.

Using “the” with Seasons of the Year

We use the seasons of the year (spring, summer, autumn, winter) with or without the definite article.

in summer or in the summer

The American English word for autumn (fall) is always used with the definite article.

the fall

The Usage Depends on the Context

Sometimes we use the article and sometimes we do not. It often depends on the context. Watch the following example:

The student goes to school.

The mother goes to the school.

In the first sentence we do not use the definite article, in the second we do. The student goes to school for its primary purpose, so we do not use the article.

The mother might talk to a teacher, for example. She visits the school for a different reason. That's why we use the definite article in the second sentence.