Saturday, August 22, 2009

Definite Article '"THE"

Dear Readers,

As you know, the definite article "the" is the most frequently used word in the English language Therefore, every learner ought to know how to use the definite article . Remember, this short word has tremendous significance from the point of view of discourse !

'The" coming before a noun indicates an anaphoric reference . In other words , after introducing an object with an indefinite article a/an ,we can refer to the same object later in the discourse in an economical way by simply putting "the" before the object .

Look at this passage

"I bought a necklace at Cochin . I brought it home and showed it to my cousin. She took a fancy to the necklace and wanted to buy a necklace like the one I had bought . I told her that she didn"t need to buy one .I had bought the necklace as a wedding gift to her ! "

The use of "the" has an anaphoric reference and it saves us the labor of repeating "which I had bought at Cochin" as a post-modifier after the noun "necklace"

Sometimes "the" before a noun shows that it is the only one of its kind known to or understood by the speaker/listener.. An important thing to bear in mind in this connection is that language is a system based on context and shared conventions between the speaker and the listener.

Look at this sentence

"The Queen is not receiving visitors today "

Both the speaker and the listener know the identity of the queen,. Other examples

*The key is missing .

*The telephone is ringing .

*Where is the thermometer?

The use of "the" based on conventions (not on hard-and-fast rules)

"The" is conventionally used before the names of

rivers(the Nile)

mountain ranges (the Himalayas)

oceans ( the Atlantic )

deserts (the Sahara )and

seas (the Arabian sea )

It is used before the official names of countries (theUnited States of America ) It is omitted before proper nouns, that is , the names of particular persons and places But it can be used when proper nouns are used as common nouns ! examples

Martin Luther King is the Gandhi of America .

Alleppey is the Venice of the East .

Enough for definite article ! I will continue the discussion ti my next entry

Thank You!

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