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 The use of THE/ Lesson

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تاريخ التسجيل : 25/02/2008

مُساهمةموضوع: The use of THE/ Lesson   السبت مارس 22, 2008 8:32 am

The use of The before plural countable nouns
a. Referring to something mentioned before
In general, the has the same meaning when used with plural countable nouns as when used with singular countable nouns. For instance, the is used with plural countable nouns when referring to something which has been mentioned before.
e.g. Fallen leaves covered the ground. The leaves rustled as we walked.
In the orchard were apples and pears. The apples were nearly ripe.
The doors opened, and students and teachers began leaving the building. The students were talking and laughing.

In these examples, the first time the words leaves, apples and students appear, they are not preceded by determiners, because the things referred to have not been mentioned previously. The second time the words leaves, apples and students appear, they are preceded by the, since the things referred to have already been mentioned.
b. Referring to something when it is considered obvious what is meant
The is used with plural countable nouns when the speaker or writer considers it obvious which particular persons or things are meant.
e.g. The stars are shining brightly.
The roses are blooming.
We have put the children to bed.
I was sitting on the front steps.

These sentences give examples of the use of the to refer to things which are particularly important to the speaker or writer. The expression the stars usually refers to the stars which can be seen from the part of the earth where one lives. The expression the roses might refer to roses in one's own garden, or to roses in which one feels a particular interest. The children might refer to one's own children or to children for whom one is responsible. The front steps might refer to the front steps of one's own house.

c. Names of nationalities
The is sometimes used with the name of a nationality in order to make a general statement about the people of that nationality. A plural verb must be used in such a statement.

When the name of a nationality ends in the sound of ch, s, sh or z, the name of the nationality must usually be preceded by the.

NationalityExample
French The French are famous for their fine wines.
Irish The Irish are known as poets and songwriters.

When the name of a nationality does not end in the sound of ch, s, sh or z, the letter s must be added to the end of the name when it is used in a general statement. Names of nationalities to which s has been added are often used without being preceded by the.

NationalityExample
Argentinian Argentinians like to eat beef.
Canadian Canadians have a tradition of playing hockey.

d. Adjectives referring to classes of people
Adjectives such as rich and poor can be used with the in order to refer to a group of people as a class. A plural verb must be used.
e.g. The blind attend special schools.
The poor do not own their own homes.
The rich often married for money.
In the above examples, the blind has the meaning of blind people, the poor has the meaning of poor people, and the rich has the meaning of rich people.

The following table summarizes the most important uses of the determiners a, an, and the with singular and plural countable nouns.

The absence of a determiner and the use of A, An and The before countable nouns
UseSingular Countable NounsPlural Countable Nouns
A weakened form of One a/an
Naming a profession a/an no determiner
Making a general statement a/an no determiner
Something not mentioned before a/an no determiner
Something referred to as a class the
Something mentioned before the the
When it is obvious what is meant the the
Nationalities ending in ch, se, sh the
Adjectives referring to classes of people the
3. The use of The with proper nouns
a. Names of people
In English, names of people in the singular are not usually preceded by a determiner.
e.g. Washington was the first president of the United States.
Jack and Eleanor saw the movie.

Determiners are also usually not used when a title precedes a person's name.
Doctor Defoe has a good reputation.
Mr. Carpenter is a friend of ours.
In these examples, the titles Doctor and Mr. are not preceded by determiners.

However, names of people in the plural are usually preceded by the.
e.g. The Smiths live in that house.
I have known the Harrisons for years.

b. Names of places
In English, the is usually used before the following types of place name:

Type of Place Name
canal
desert
ocean
river
sea
plural place names
place names containing the word of

The following are examples of names of canals, deserts, oceans, rivers, and seas:
e.g. the Panama Canal
the Mojave Desert
the Atlantic Ocean
the St. Lawrence River
the Beaufort Sea

The following are examples of plural place names:
e.g. the United States
the British Isles
the Great Lakes
the Rocky Mountains

The following are examples of place names containing the word of:
e.g. the Gulf of Mexico
the Cape of Good Hope
the Bay of Biscay
the Isle of Wight

Other types of place name are usually not preceded by determiners. For instance, determiners are usually not used before the following types of place name:


Type of Place NameExample
lake Lake Superior
island Manhattan Island
mountain Mount Rainier
park Yosemite National Park
city Boston
street Main Street
country Canada
state Kansas
province Nova Scotia
county Halifax County

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The use of THE/ Lesson
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