We have learnt the uses of Indefinite Article in tha last lesson. Here, we are going to learn Definite Article usages.
Definite Article ‘the’ is used under the following rules and conditions —

Rule 1 – Definite Person or thing

As has been explained in the first chapter, Article ‘The’ is used before a definitely specified person or thing. In other words, ‘the’ is used before a person or a thing which has already been referred to earlier, or which has been specified in some other way. As –
  1. This is the house in which my friend lives. (Here, we cannot use ‘a house’ because the house has been specified as the one where my friend lives.)
  2. The place where I was born is far away from here.
  3. This is the book I purchased yesterday.
  4. He is the gentleman who I introduced to you last year.

Rule 2 —

Before all those Common Nouns which are only one or believed to be only one, But which are not Proper Nouns. As –
  1. The earth is round.
  2. The sky is blue.
  3. The sun has risen.
  4. The moon shines.

Rule 3 —

Before all those Singular Nouns which represent their whole class. As –
  1. The cow is a gentle animal.
  2. The rose is a sweet smelling flower.
  3. The apple is good for children.
  4. The horse lives on grass.
Note:- But Article ‘the’ is not used before Man, Woman, or Mankind even if they may represent the whole class. As –
  1. Man is a social animal. (not The man)
  2. Woman is man's partner. (not The woman)

Rule 4 —

Before the names of mountains, rivers, oceans, lakes, bays, islands article ‘the’ is used. As –
  1. The Ganges is a holy river.
  2. The Himalayas are the highest mountains.
  3. The Red Sea is a small sea.
  4. The British Isles are in Europe.
Note:- But article ‘the’ is not used before a single specified Peak or Hill. As –
  1. Mount Everest (‘The’ will not be used.)
  2. Mount Abu

Rule 5 —

Article ‘the’ is used before the titles of books, magazines or news-papers. As –
  1. The Ramayana.
  2. The Gulliver's Travel.
  3. The Bible.
  4. The Times of India.
Note:- But if the author name is mentioned with the title of a book, article ‘the’ is not used. As –
  1. Homer's Iliad
  2. Tulsi's Ramcharitmanas
  3. Shakespeare's Tempest.

Rule 6 —

Article ‘the’ is used before musical instruments. As –
The flute, the guitar, the orchestra.

Rule 7 —

Article ‘the’ is used before Superlative Adjective/Adverb. As –
  1. The highest mountain
  2. The largest river
  3. The best boy
  4. The most important point
  5. The most honourable man

Rule 8 —

Before that Proper Noun which carries its qualifying adjective before it. As –
The great Caesar, the immortal Shakespeare, the gentle-hearted Lamb, the brave Nepoleon, the late Abraham Lincoln.

Rule 9 —

Before the Common Noun which expresses the sense of Abstract Noun. As –
  1. The patriot in him did not let him yield.
  2. The warrior in him kept his morale high.
  3. The father in him came to his support at last.

Rule 10 —

Before the Adjective which is used as Collective Noun. As –
  1. We should help the poor.
  2. The meek are blessed.
  3. The noble are always respected.

Rule 11 —

With Double Comparative Adverb. As –
  1. The more he gets, the more he desires. (Remember that the Article ‘the’ is used before each Adverb separately.)
  2. The more, the merrier.
  3. The harder he works, the better returns he will get.

Rule 12 —

Article ‘the’ is also used before those Proper Nouns which stand for some Nation or People. As –
  1. The English are very hard working.
  2. The French are very fashionable.
  3. The German are heroic people.
Note :–  If Article ‘the’ is not used before such countries or nations, they would mean the Language of those countries or nations. Thus, English means English Language, and The English means English people.

Rule 13 —

Article ‘the’ is also used before a noun to give it the force of the Superlative. As –
  1. He is the scholar of the day.
  2. He is the historian on this period.

Rule 14 —

Before Ordinal Number ‘the’. As –
The first, the fifth, the fourth, the 4th, the 8th, the 3rd, the 2nd, the 15th, the 16th of May/ the fifteenth of May, George the Fifth, Henry the 8th.
Note:–  But if these Ordinal Numbers are written in Roman figures, Article ‘the’ is not used. I, II, III, IV, V, VI, X, IX, etc. are in Roman figures. As –
V Chapter, Canto XII, George V, Henry VIII.

Rule 15 —

Before Professions. As –
  1. He has joined the Bar.
  2. He has gone to the navy.
  3. I am interested in the teaching profession.
  4. He is a member of the Bench.

Rule 16 —

Before Common Nouns used as oppositions to Proper Nouns. As –
  1. Delhi, the capital of India
  2. Nehru, the great patriot
  3. Alexander, the great warrior
  4. Shakespeare, the father of English poetry.