El artículo determinado

La palabra "the" es una de las más comunes en inglés. Es el único artículo determinado del idioma y se aplica por igual a los nombres singulares, plurales, masculinos, femeninos y neutros. En inglés, los nombres van precedidos por el artículo determinado cuando pensamos que nuestro interlocutor ya sabe a qué nos referimos. Podemos tener varias razones para pensar esto, algunas se recogen a continuación.

Cuándo utilizar "the"

Reglas generales

The se emplea para referirse a algo que ya ha sido mencionado.

  • On Monday, an unarmed man stole $1,000 from the bank. The thief hasn't been caught yet.
  • I was walking past Benny's Bakery when I decided to go into the bakery to get some bread.
  • There's a position available in my team. The job will involve some international travel.

Utilizamos the cuando asumimos que hay un único ejemplar del nombre en cuestión, aunque no haya sido mencionado antes.

  • We went on a walk in the forest yesterday.
  • Where is the bathroom?
  • Turn left and go to number 45. Our house is across from the Italian restaurant.
  • My father enjoyed the book you gave him.

Utilizamos the en las oraciones y proposiciones que definen o identifican a una persona u objeto en particular.

  • The man who wrote this book is famous.
  • I scratched the red car parked outside.
  • I live in the small house with a blue door.
  • He is the doctor I came to see.

The se emplea para referirse a cosas o personas que son únicas en el mundo.

  • The sun rose at 6:17 this morning.
  • You can go anywhere in the world.
  • Clouds drifted across the sky.
  • The president will be speaking on TV tonight.
  • The CEO of Total is coming to our meeting.

Utilizamos the antes de los superlativos y de los ordinales.

  • This is the highest building in New York.
  • She read the last chapter of her new book first.
  • You are the tallest person in our class.
  • This is the third time I have called you today.

The se emplea con adjetivos para referirse a colectivos.

  • The French enjoy cheese.
  • The elderly require special attention.
  • She has given a lot of money to the poor.

Utilizamos the con las décadas.

  • He was born in the seventies.
  • This is a painting from the 1820's.

Utilizamos the en las proposiciones que empiezan por only.

  • This is the only day we've had sunshine all week.
  • You are the only person he will listen to.
  • The only tea I like is black tea.
Los nombres propios

The se emplea para referirse a zonas geográficas, ríos, cordilleras, archipiélagos, canales y océanos.

  • They are travelling in the Arctic.
  • Our ship crossed the Atlantic in 7 days.
  • I will go on a cruise down the Nile.
  • Hiking across the Rocky Mountains would be difficult.

Utilizamos the con países de nombre plural.

  • I have never been to the Netherlands.
  • Do you know anyone who lives in the Philippines?

También utilizamos the con países cuyo nombre contiene las palabras "republic", "kingdom" o "states".

  • She is visiting the United States.
  • James is from the Republic of Ireland.

The se utiliza con los nombres de periódicos.

  • I read it in the Guardian.
  • She works for the New York Times.

Utilizamos the con los nombres de edificios, obras de arte, museos y monumentos famosos.

  • Have you been to the Vietnam Memorial?
  • We went to the Louvre and saw the Mona Lisa.
  • I would like to visit the Eiffel Tower.
  • I saw King Lear at the Globe.

También empleamos the con nombres de hoteles y restaurantes, salvo si llevan el nombre de una persona.

  • They are staying at the Hilton on 6th street.
  • We ate at the Golden Lion.

The se usa con los apellidos en plural para referirse a una familia, no para hablar de un solo individuo.

  • We're having dinner with the Smiths tonight.
  • The Browns are going to the play with us.

Cuándo no utilizar "the"

No utilizamos the con los nombres de países (salvo las excepciones ya mencionadas).

  • Germany is an important economic power.
  • He's just returned from Zimbabwe.

No utilizamos the con los nombres de idiomas.

  • French is spoken in Tahiti.
  • English uses many words of Latin origin.
  • Indonesian is a relatively new language.

Tampoco se emplea the con nombres de comidas.

  • Lunch is my favorite meal.
  • I like to eat breakfast early.

No utilizamos the con nombres de personas.

  • John is coming over later.
  • Mary Carpenter is my boss.

No utilizamos the con títulos honoríficos seguidos de un nombre.

  • Prince Charles is Queen Elizabeth's son.
  • President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

No utilizamos the tras el genitivo sajón.

  • His brother's car was stolen.
  • Peter's house is over there.

The no se emplea para referirse a las profesiones.

  • Engineering is a well-paid career.
  • He'll probably study medicine.

Tampoco empleamos the con nombres de tiendas o revistas.

  • I'll get the card at Smith's.
  • Can you go to Boots for me?

No utilizamos the con los años.

  • 1948 was a wonderful year.
  • He was born in 1995.

Atención, no utilizamos the con nombres incontables.

  • Rice is an important food in Asia.
  • Milk is often added to tea in England.
  • War is destructive.

Tampoco se emplea the con nombres de montañas, lagos e islas específicos.

  • Mount McKinley is the highest mountain in Alaska.
  • She lives near Lake Windermere.
  • Have you visited Long Island?

The no se utiliza con la mayoría de los nombres de ciudades, calles, estaciones y aeropuertos.

  • Victoria Station is in the centre of London.
  • Can you direct me to Bond Street?
  • She lives in Florence.
  • They're flying into Heathrow.