“The” with Things

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Welcome to your “The” with Things lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• Unique things
When we do use “the”
The difference between “General” and “Specific”
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Unique things

We do not use “The” when we are talking about things or people in general:

“She is afraid of snakes.”

Teachers work harder than bankers.”

Unemployment is getting worse in some places.”

We say “most people”, “most towns”, “most students” etc. (Not “the most people”) etc.

When we do use “the”

We use “the” when we are talking about specific things or people. Compare the nouns with or without “the”:

General things (without the) Specific things (with the)

French people love wine.”

The French people I know love wine.”

Rum is nice with juice.”

The rum made in Jamaica is lovely!”

“All cars have wheels.”

“All the cars parked here belong to residents.”

“I couldn’t live without sausages.”

The sausages that my wife makes are delicious.”

The difference between “General” and “Specific”

Sometimes the difference between “something general” and “something specific” is not very clear. Compare the two:

General things (without “the”) Specific things (with “the”)

“I like working with children.”
(children in general)

 “I like the children I work with.”
(a specific group of children)

I like working with well-behaved children.”
(not all children, but ‘well-behaved children’ is still a general idea.)

Do you like tea?
(tea in general)

 “Did you like the tea that I served you after dinner last night?
(a specific tea)

Do you like green tea?
(a specific type of tea, but still a general idea)