The definite article: the
We use the definite article the:
– when the person or thing referred to is unique:
The sun came out and soon we were dry.
The President is giving a speech tonight.
The London Marathon, the Olympic Games.
– to talk about specific things when the context makes it clear what we are reffering to:
Your shoes are in the cupboard.
Your dinner’s in the fridge.
– to talk about previously mentioned things:
A man and a woman walked into the room. The man was wearing sunglasses.
– with superlatives:
He’s the bravest person in the team.
– to talk about a generic class of things:
The bycicle was invented about 200 years ago.
The tiger is in danger of becoming extinct.
– with oceans, seas, rivers and deserts:
He’s sailed across the Atlantic and the Pacific.
We went by canoe up the Orinoco.
She said she’d driven across the Sahara.
– with plural mountain ranges and island groups:
Are the Andes as high as the Himalayas?
The British Isles include the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Man.
– with continents and countries whose name includes a common noun:
He’s from the Czech Republic, but he’s living in the United States.
– with areas:
There is a range of mountains in the north.
– with hotels, cinemas, theatres:
They had afternoon tea at the Ritz.
That new Polish film is on at the Odeon.
– with newspapers:
The Times, The Guardian, The Independent.
– with national groups:
The English are a mixed race.
The indefinite article: a/an
Use the indefinite article a/an:
– with (singular) jobs, etc.:
She’s an architect.
Is your sister a football fan, too?
– with singular countable nouns (mentioned for the first time or when it doesn’t matter which one):
I’d like a sandwich and a glass of orange juice.
What you need is a rest.
– with these numbers: 100, 1.000, 1.000.000:
There were over a hundred people at the wedding.
He made a million dollars in one year.
– in exclamations about singular countable nuns:
What an amazing view!