One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A determiner (the in English) that introduces a noun phrase and implies that the thing mentioned has already been mentioned, or is common knowledge, or is about to be defined (as in the book on the table; the art of government; the famous public school in Berkshire).Compare with indefinite article
- ‘Adjectives that refer to people are sometimes introduced by the definite article the or by a possessive pronoun.’
- ‘The power of the definite article to particularize a common noun is dependent on context, apart from which its reference remains ambiguous.’
- ‘We found more errors in normal text for correctly capitalized definite articles than for capitalized nouns at the beginning of a sentence.’
- ‘There may be a difference between the definite article and the indefinite article, and there are different views on capital letters, I suppose.’
- ‘There certainly are a lot of bands around at the moment known by nothing more than a definite article and a noun.’
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