Use of the definite article

The definite article (the) is not used in English quite as often as it is in Swedish. In addition, there is only partial overlap between the ways it is used in the two languages. Therefore, be very skeptical about your own inclination to add “the” to sentences.

Here are some typical cases in which “the” is not used:

Generic nouns in English usually do not take the definite article:

No: The peace is preferable to the war.

Yes: Peace is preferable to war.

No: The American imperialism must be resisted.

Yes: American imperialism must be resisted.

No: My favorite animals are the hamsters.

Yes: My favorite animals are hamsters.

The definite article is not used with the names of languages:

No: The English and the Swedish are written with almost the same alphabet.

Yes: English and Swedish are written with almost the same alphabet.

Note: We sometimes say the English language (with the), but in general we simply use the form English.

On the other hand, some expressions always require the:

No: EU

Yes: the EU

No: UK

Yes: the UK

No: USA

Yes: the USA

No: Internet

Yes: the Internet

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