IELTS common mistakes | how to use 'the'




In the USA this situation is totally different (correct)
In USA this situation is totally different (incorrect)

The table shows number of people working in Britain in 1976 (incorrect)
The table shows the number of people working in Britain in 1976 (correct)

We use the
• with countries or places where the name refers to a group: the United States, the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates, the UK
• with superlatives: the best, the longest, the highest
• with cardinal numbers: the first, the second, the third
• when there is only one in the world: the environment, the internet, the sun
• to refer to the only one in a particular area: the government, the police, the river
• in the phrase: the same as

We don't use the
• with a single country or place: America, England, China
• to talk about something in general. We use the plural if we are talking about something in general; we use the to identify one specific example.

Compare:
People with reading difficulties often have problems with numbers.
The number eight is considered lucky in some countries.

See more IELTS common mistakes


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