Definite article is ‘the’ which is used before Nouns (Singular/Plural) to denote them as specific or particular member of the group.
The boy who hit me is standing over there. (The particular boy)
I was happy to see the doctor who saved my son. (The particular doctor)
Meet me at the front of the Gateway of India. (Only 1 Gateway of India)
1. Whereas ‘a’ / ‘an’ can be used only with countable Nouns, ‘the can be used with both countable and uncountable Nouns.
E.g.: I love to watch the sea. (Uncountable noun)
I love to pick the apples. (Countable Noun)
2. Whereas ‘a’ or ‘an’ is only used before Singular Nouns, ‘the’ is used before both Singular and Plural Nouns.
e.g. I am going to buy the pen that I liked.
I am going to buy the pens that I liked.
3. ‘The’ is used for both the genders.
e.g. : The boy, the girl .
a. Fore mostly used for a specific Noun pre-mentioned in the sentence.
e.g.: Please switch off the fan.
I like the dress you are wearing.
b. Used to indicate a unique Noun.
e.g.: The river Ganges flows right beneath this bridge.
c. Used to denote a natural phenomenon.
e.g.: The storm lashed across the countryside.
d. Used to refer to a distinct time period.
e.g.: The 60’s were known as the swinging 60’s.
I was considered very handsome in the past.
e. Used to indicate all members, carrying the same surname.
e.g.: The petroleum sector was dominated by the Ambanis.
I watched the Simpsons show numerous times
When used with geographical Nouns the following conditions come into force:
1. ‘The ‘ is not used before the names of most Continents, Countries, Cities, Street, lakes and bays, islands, mountain peaks.
Countries: The United States of America, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, the Netherland, the Middle East.
Lakes: The Great Lakes
Island chains: The Canary Island, the British Island, the Bahamas.
2. ‘The is used before the following geographical Nouns:
a. Mountain Ranges: The Himalayas, the Rockies, theAndes.
b. River, Ocean and Sea: The Ganges, the Pacific Ocean, the Arabian Sea.
c. Points of the Globe: The Equator, the Tropic of Cancer/ Capricorn, the North/ South Pole.
d. Geographical Expanse: The East, the West, the North, the South.
e. Deserts, Forests, Gulfs, Peninsula: The Sahara, the Amazon basin, the Gulf of Mexico, the Deccan Peninsula.
3. ‘The’ is also not used before the names of Subjects :
e.g.: English, Physics, and Chemistry etc.
4. ‘The’ is not used before names of Languages unless one considers their nationality, referring to them as population of a region. .
Have you taken English at Graduation level? (Not the English)
5. Definite article ‘the’ may be used with specific Months, Days of the week and seasons.
a. I always remember the Saturday my son was born.
b. The December of 2001 shall be etched deep in my mind for as long as I live.
c. The fall of 1993 had a special feel.