The definite article the is used in several different ways
One use of the is with nouns (singular or plural, countable
or uncountable) that are specifically identified because
listener or reader knows (or can assume)
that only one
noun is being talked or written
Another use of the
happens when a non-specific
is mentioned more than one
A third use is related to
the second: when a plural
is non-specific, either some, a number or other quantifier,
or no article is used when the noun
is mentioned the first
time, but the is used after the first time.
Celina is wearing earrings.
The earrings are small and
made of gold.
Someone sent Anna flowers yesterday. The flowers
just before noon.
George and Helen have three children. The children are
studying at universities in Missouri.
I bought a pair of shoes yesterday. I couldn't resist
buying the shoes because they were on sale for half price.
Betsy showed us some some photographs of Switzerland.
were taken on Betsy's vacation last year.
Julia bought a skirt and some shoes.
shoes are both navy blue.
She knew that we had questions about her report.
us to send her the questions by e-mail.
Uncountable nouns can also be used in a way that
to what was noted above:
all over the kitchen floor! I think the water
from the bottom of the refrigerator!
I see a lot of smoke. Do you
think the smoke is from
a forest fire?
Fred bought several packages
of graph paper. He'll use
graph paper in
his geometry class.
I bought two quarts of ice
cream. We'll have the ice cream
for dessert this evening.
If your sauce is too thin,
add one or two teaspoons of
The cornstarch will make the sauce thicker.