What Part of Speech is “The”

The word “THE” is a Definite Article and an Adverb.Take a look at the definitions and examples below and you will see how this little word can be used as different parts of speech.

 1. Definite Article

This word “The” is considered as a definite article because it is used to refer to something specific. It is also placed before a noun, if the audience already knows what is being referred to (there is only one or the subject has already been mentioned). For example, let’s look at the sentence below:

The pope will visit the Philippines in 2015.”

The” is used because there is only one pope in the whole world.


a. used to indicate a person or thing that has already been mentioned or seen or is clearly understood from the situation

  • Joe is the tallest boy in class.


b. used to refer to things or people that are common in daily life

  • The moon is aligned between the Sun and the Earth.


c. used to refer to things that occur in nature

  • The inner planets of the solar system are denser compared to the outer planets.


2. Adverb

Aside from acting as a definite article, “The” can also be used as an adverb. Take for example the sentence below:

“Since getting a new computer, he was able to produce outputs all the quicker.”

In that sentence, “the” serves as an adverb because it modifies the adjective quicker. Take note that the word can only be used as an adverb if it is used together with an adjective or another adverb which is in the comparative degree.


a. than before: than otherwise —used before a comparative

  • The sooner the better.


b. to what extent

  • Mercury is the most cratered planet in our Solar System.


c. beyond all others

  • The more the merrier.
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