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How to use THE


Ive noticed especially in writing activities that some people find how to use THE confusing.

The is a Definite article. The list may seem long but the main rule is: we use the when we are talking about something or someone specific.share_image(1)

We use The in front of a noun when we believe the listener/reader knows exactly what we are referring to

I’ll pass by and collect the children at four o’clock.

or there is only one of those places  in those surroundings:

When you’re in town you must visit the zoo. (there is only one zoo normally in a town)

I’m going to the Eiffel tower.


The is also used to talk about a person or thing that has already been mentioned:

I received the shirt and dress I ordered from a shop on the internet. I really like the dress but the shirt is a little tight.

There’s a position available where I work. The job will involve some international travel.

In a situation where it is clear what is happening:

Could you pass me the salt? Everyone can see it.

Used to talk about a particular person or thing:

I don’t like the comedian. (I don’t like that particular comedian)

I don’t like comedians (in general I don’t like comedians)

To identify a particular person or thing:

The US president is visiting Russia in May.

The sweater is on the chair.

The oranges are on the table.

The man sitting over there is famous.

Use the with countries that include the words “republic”, “kingdom”, or “states” in their names:

The UK



Countries that have plural names:

The Netherlands.

With superlatives:

Everest is the highest mountain on the earth.

That’s the biggest sandwich l’ve never had.

With some adjectives to talk about groups of people:

A lot of rich people don’t know how the poor live.

We must look after the elderly.

When there is one of them in the world that everyone knows about:

The moon.

The sun.

The earth.

The internet.

When we talk about musical instrument:

I already know how to play the piano now I want to learn how to play the violin.

To refer to a system or service:

How long does it take on the train?
I heard it on the radio.
You should tell the police

For certain countries:


The UK


For ordinal numbers (First, Second, Third etc.)

The third house on the left.

The first women on the moon.









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When to use Then and Than

A trick to know when to use Then and Thanthen or than

English has a lot of confusing words especially those words that look and sound the similar.

Than and Then are hard to know when to use even for native users!

The trick to know when to use which is easy! Than is for comparisons so if you are not comparing something: use then.

Let’s talk about then.than and then

Then is used when you want to talk about a sequence of events, giving instructions in a step-by-step order or when time is involved the word then is used.

  • Come over this afternoon; I’ll be ready then.
  • If my flight is cancelled then I won’t be able to go to the wedding!
  • When you reach the traffic light then turn left.
  • Wash the dishes then dry them.

Than is used to compare.

  • A lion is more aggressive than a house cat.
  • I prefer biscuits than cake.
  • The Amazon River is wider than the Nile.

Here is a video explaining it all!

If you would like me to discuss any other words in English you find confusing, let me know by contacting me at:

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