GYG Day 51. The thing with ‘the’.

When to use it, and when not? Seems easy enough at first glance – but deep down, it isn’t all that straightforward. Here’s a quick overview, when and when not.

I guess it makes sense to start with when:

  1. Before a noun that has been mentioned before, that is known or assumed, or that is very specific: “I bought the book you recommended.”
  2. Before specific nouns, including the sky; the environment; the world; the country; the ground, the sea/ocean, the cinema
  3. Before certain times of the day, including the morning; the afternoon. the evening BUT (at noon and at night)
  4. Before a singular noun that is used generically: e.g. “The dollar has fallen in value against the euro.”
  5. Before a collective noun that looks like an adjective and describes a group of people: e.g. “The unemployed need our assistance.” But “Unemployed people need our assistance”.
  6. Before place-names containing the “state(s), kingdom, republic, union” and before the names of rivers: The Czech Republic, the United Kingdom. e.g.” The new office is near the Thames”.

When not

  1. Before nouns when talking in general terms: e.g. “Crime is a real problem in this neighbourhood” or “People work hard for their living.”
  2. Before uncountable nouns: I have the information that might help.
  3. Before ‘work’ and ‘home’ in most contexts: e.g. “Dave didn’t go to work last week”. BUT “The work I do is great fun and fulfilling”.
  4. Before individual institutions when used as concepts: “I attended university/college in Birmingham.”
  5. Before a noun and number combination: “I’m in room 213/on extension 145/ on page 217.
  6. Before the names of months, days, certain times of the day and meals: e.g.” After lunch, we resumed the negotiations. ” BUT “I ate a large dinner yesterday”.

Oh and then there’s the thing with THE pronunciation. Here I’d like to hand over to Gill. Over to you, Gill …..

at first glance (auf den ersten Blick), straightforward (unkompliziert), to assume (vermüten), to resume the negotiations (verhandlungen wiederaufnehmen)

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