Definite Article: When to use ‘the’…and when NOT to!

The definite article – ‘the’ – causes lots of problems for English learners. In the IELTS Writing Test, errors with the definite article can limit your band score for Grammar. Watch this video to learn when to use ‘the’….and when you should NOT use it.

After watching the video, scroll down the page and take the quiz


Read the sentence and decide which of the 2 phrases should go into the blank space. Good luck!


🌍 “The” is used with countries or regions that refer to a group, such as the United Kingdom or the British Isles.

🥇 “The” is used with superlatives, such as the best way or the longest river.

📆 “The” is used with cardinal numbers, like the second largest city.

🌙 “The” is used when there is only one of a thing, such as the moon or the internet.

❌ “The” is not used with single countries, like England or Vietnam.

❌ “The” is not used when talking about something in general, such as onions or birthdays.

About the author

Charlie is a former IELTS Examiner with 25 years' teaching experience all over the world. His courses, for both English language learners and teachers, have been taken by over 100,000 students in over 160 countries around the world.