An example of "the" is saying that a particular bird is blue.
- referring to a particular person, thing, or group (as opposed to a, an), as: that (one) being spoken of or already mentioned: the story ended that (one) which is present, close, nearby, etc., as distinguished from all others viewed as remote: the day is starting out warm; the heat is oppressive that (one) designated or identified, as by a title: the President (of the U.S.), the Mississippi (River) that (one) considered outstanding, most fashionable, etc.: usually italicized in print: that's the restaurant in town that (one) belonging to a person previously mentioned or understood: take me by the hand; rub into the face one specified period of time, esp. a decade: the Dark Ages, the seventiesInformal that (one) who has a specific family relationship to one: the wife, the kid sister
- referring to that one of a number of persons or things which is identified by a modifier, as by: an attributive adjective: the front door a relative clause: the man who answered a prepositional phrase: the hit of the week an infinitive phrase: the right to strike a participle: follow the directions given
- referring to a person or thing considered generically or universally, as: one taken as the representative of the entire genus or type: learn to use the typewriter; the cow is a domestic animal an adjective used as a noun: the good, the beautiful, the true
Origin of theME, indeclinable article from Old English se (nom. masculine article) with th- from other case and gender forms (thone, thæs, thære, thæm, thy): for Indo-European base see that; the meaning is controlled by the basic notion “previously recognized, noticed, or encountered” in distinction to a, an
- that much; to that extent: the better to see you with
- by how much . . . by that much; to what extent . . . to that extent: used in a correlative construction expressing comparison: the sooner the better
- a. Used before singular or plural nouns and noun phrases that denote particular, specified persons or things: the baby; the dress I wore.b. Used before a noun, and generally stressed, to emphasize one of a group or type as the most outstanding or prominent: considered Wicker Park to be the neighborhood to live in these days.c. Used to indicate uniqueness: the Prince of Wales; the moon.d. Used before nouns that designate natural phenomena or points of the compass: the weather; a wind from the south.e. Used as the equivalent of a possessive adjective before names of some parts of the body: grab him by the neck; an infection of the hand.f. Used before a noun specifying a field of endeavor: the law; the film industry; the stage.g. Used before a proper name, as of a monument or ship: the Alamo; the Titanic.h. Used before the plural form of a numeral denoting a specific decade of a century or of a lifespan: rural life in the Thirties.
- Used before a singular noun indicating that the noun is generic: The loggerhead turtle is an endangered species.
- a. Used before an adjective extending it to signify a class and giving it the function of a noun: the rich; the dead; the homeless.b. Used before an absolute adjective: the best we can offer.
- Used before a present participle, signifying the action in the abstract: the weaving of rugs.
- Used before a noun with the force of per : cherries at $1.50 the box.
Origin of theMiddle English from Old English alteration ( influenced by th- oblique case stem of demonstrative pron. ) of se masculine demonstrative pron. ; see so- in Indo-European roots.
- To that extent; by that much. Used before a comparative: the sooner the better.
- Beyond any other: enjoyed reading the most.
Origin of theMiddle English from Old English thé, thē instrumental of thæt neuter demonstrative pron. ; see to- in Indo-European roots.
- Definite grammatical article that implies necessarily that an entity it articulates is presupposed; something already mentioned, or completely specified later in that same sentence, or assumed already completely specified. [from 10th c.]
- I'm reading the book. (Compare I'm reading a book.)
- The street in front of your house. (Compare A street in Paris.)
- The men and women watched the man give the birdseed to the bird.
- Used before an object considered to be unique, or of which there is only one at a time. [from 10th c.]
- No one knows how many galaxies there are in the universe.
- God save the Queen!
- With a superlative, it and that superlative refer to one object. [from 9th c.]
- That apple pie was the best.
- Introducing a term to be taken generically; preceding a name of something standing for a whole class. [from 9th c.]
- Used before an adjective, indicating all things (especially persons) described by that adjective. [from 9th c.]
- Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.
- Used to indicate a certain example of (a noun) which is most usually of concern, or most common or familiar. [from 12th c.]
- No one in the whole country had seen it before.
- I don't think I'll get to it until the morning.
- Used before a body part (especially of someone previously mentioned), as an alternative to a possessive pronoun. [from 12th c.]
- A stone hit him on the head. (= “A stone hit him on his head.")
- When stressed, indicates that it describes an object which is considered to be best or exclusively worthy of attention. [from 18th c.]
- That is the hospital to go to for heart surgery.
The word the precedes proper nouns in a number of cases, although most proper nouns use no article. There are always exceptions. See also for more information.
From Middle English, from Old English Ã¾Ä“ (“the, that", demonstrative pronoun), a late variant of sÄ“ (“that, the"). Originally masculine nominative, in Middle English it superseded all previous Old English forms (sÄ“, sÄ“o, Ã¾Ã¦t, Ã¾Ä), from Proto-Germanic *sa (“that"), from Proto-Indo-European *sÃ³, *to-, *tÃ³d (“demonstrative pronoun"). Cognate with West Frisian de, dy (“the, that"), Dutch de, die (“the, that"), Low German de, dat (“the, that"), German der, die, das (“the, that"), Danish den (“the, that"), Swedish den (“the, that"), Icelandic Ã¾aÃ° (“that").
- With a comparative or more and a verb phrase, establishes a parallel with one or more other such comparatives.
- The hotter, the better.
- The more I think about it, the weaker it looks.
- The more money donated, the more books purchased, and the more happy children.
- It looks weaker and weaker, the more I think about it.
- With a comparative, and often with for it, indicates a result more like said comparative. This can be negated with none.
- It was a difficult time, but I'm the wiser for it.
- It was a difficult time, and I'm none the wiser for it.
- I'm much the wiser for having had a difficult time like that.
From Middle English, from Old English Ã¾È³ (“by that, after that, whereby"), originally the instrumental case of the demonstratives sÄ“ (masculine) and Ã¾Ã¦t (neuter). Cognate with Dutch des te ("the, the more"), German desto ("the, all the more"), Norwegian fordi ("because"), Icelandic Ã¾vÃ (“because").