Grammar: Using THE with common and abstract nouns

Hi. I’m Rebecca from engVid. Many English learners have
trouble deciding when to use “the” or no “the”, so I understand that problem,
I know it can be a little bit confusing, but I believe that by the end of this lesson,
you’re going to find it much easier. Okay? So let’s start with a little quiz first to see
where you stand regarding that word “the”. So, let’s look at this first example.
Should you say: “Life is beautiful.” or
“The life is beautiful.”? Okay. Think about it. Decide.
Another one: “Friendship is precious.” or
“The friendship is precious.”? Which one is right?
Think for yourself. We’ll do one more, and then
I’ll give you the answers. “Happiness is important.” or
“The happiness is important.”? Which one is correct? Do you know?
How do you know? How do you decide which one is right? I’ll
tell you. When we’re talking about something which is a general concept or idea, then we
do not use “the”. Okay? For example, let’s take the first one. “Life is beautiful.” Now,
life is a general concept, so we do not need “the”. So, this is the correct answer. All
right? Not this. “Life is beautiful.” Because life is a general idea, a general concept. Okay?
We’re not talking about anything specific. If we say: “The life of wise people is beautiful.”
that is something specific, and then we would be correct to say: “The life”. Okay? But if
we’re just talking in general, then no “the”. Let’s look at the next example. “Friendship
is precious.” Again, friendship is a general idea or a general concept, so this is correct.
Okay? In this example, this one was wrong. But if I said, for example: “The friendship
between those two children is precious.” then that would be fine, because now I’m specifying
which friendship. Right? The friendship between those two children, so then it becomes specific,
and then we would use “the”. But in this example, this is correct. Okay? Just like
this was, and this is wrong, because this is a general idea.
Okay? Next one: “Happiness is important.” By now you
know, again, happiness is a general idea, a general concept, so this is correct. In
this example, it would be wrong to say: “The happiness”, because: The
happiness of what? So, if we say: “The happiness of my family is important.” that’s fine.
That’s very good. That would be a perfect sentence. But in this case, we cannot say: “The happiness is
important.” because we didn’t specify which happiness. Okay? So, in this case, that’s
wrong, and this is correct. Okay? Now, the same principle applies to these.
See if you can figure it out. Okay? “I want to make money.” or
“I want to make the money.”? Which one do you think is right?
Are we speaking in general, or are we speaking specifically?
Well, we are speaking in general right now, so this is correct, because we’re just talking
about money; we didn’t say which money. I want to make money. Right?
General idea. If I said, for example: “I want to
make the money I need to pay my rent.” that’s specific, so then I could
say: “the money”, because I’m explaining after that which money.
Okay? But in this example, no. Next one: “She wants to lose weight.”
or “She wants to lose the weight.”? Is it general or is it specific?
What do you think? It’s still general. Good.
By now you’re getting really smart. “She wants to lose weight.” is
a general term. Right? We’re just talking about weight in general;
not any specific weight. But if I say: “She wants to lose the
weight she put on during the holidays.” that’s specific, and then I need “the”.
Okay? But not in this example. So, last one here: “He needs to earn respect.”
or do we say: “He needs to earn the respect.”? Is it general or is it specific? By now you
know, you’ll really know. It’s general. Very good. Okay? Because we didn’t talk about any
specific respect; we’re talking about respect in general. So: “He needs to earn respect.” But
if this was being used, it would be something like: “He needs to earn the respect of his
peers.” Peers are people your age. Okay? Or: “He needs to earn the respect of his employees.”
for example, or “of his parents”. Then it becomes specific. Which respect? The respect
of his parents, the respect of his employees. All right? So, if it was specific, then we could say
“the”, but when we’re just talking in general, we don’t need “the”. “Life is beautiful.”, “Friendship
is precious.”, “Happiness is important.”, “I want to make money.”, “She wants to lose
weight.”, “He needs to earn respect.” All of these were general concepts, so we didn’t
need to say “the”. Next you’ll have a chance to practice this with
a few more examples. So, number one, I’ll read it for you, you
decide which one it should be. Okay? “I want to feel joy I
felt on our first date.” or “I want to feel the joy I
felt on our first date.”? Which do you think is
right: “joy” or “the joy”? I hope you said this one. Okay? Because in this case, it’s specific. Right?
Which joy? The joy I felt on our first date. Not just joy in general. Okay? So that
was correct. I’m sure you got it right. Next one: “Cooperation is essential.”
or “The cooperation is essential.”? Which one do you think
is right there? Okay, I hope you said this one, because in this
case, it’s general. Right? We’re just talking about cooperation
as a general idea; not specific. Very good. You’re getting better. Okay, next one: “Silence is golden.”
or “The silence is golden.”? In this case, as a general concept,
if you were speaking in general, then this is correct.
Okay? It could also be in this particular case-a little bit tricky-if
we’re talking about the silence as in the silence around us just now and if it was specific,
then maybe you could say “the silence”. But if we’re speaking in general, and we say:
“Silence is golden.” Okay? Maybe somebody’s talking too much. Okay. Next: “She wants to experience
success of becoming a manager.” or “She wants to experience the
success of becoming a manager.”? Which one? Okay? Now I’m
sure you said this one, because this is very specific. Right? We’re
not just talking about success in general; we’re talking about the specific
success of becoming a manager, so the answer was “the success”. “She wants to experience the success
of becoming a manager.” Good. Next one: “Laughter of children is magical.”
or “The laughter of children is magical.”? Which one is it? Which one? Is it general or
is it specific? Which laughter? Do I specify that? Yes. So, the answer is this; this is
wrong, because it’s the laughter of children, so it’s very specific. Okay?
So, that’s how you know. So, remember when we’re talking about items
like that, it’s basically if it’s a general concept or idea, don’t use “the”; and if it’s
specific, then you can use “the”, and that will erase a lot of your current mistakes.
Okay? If you want to really master this, go to our website:, and you can do
a quiz on this so you can get really good at it. And you can also subscribe to my channel,
because I’ll give you lots of other tricks and shortcuts to learn
English really fast. Good for you. Thanks
for watching.

100 thoughts on “Grammar: Using THE with common and abstract nouns

  1. I’m fluent in English but it’s so funny to watch these videos and find out that I even use these words wrong or make incorrect sentences.

  2. You are a great English teacher. Really appreciated your effort.

  3. thanks mam.. good class
    Pls give idea about 'Want' and 'need…

  4. Made my life easy. Great lesson. Finally, it cleared many confusions.

  5. I am a sri lankan. Your lessons are very easy to understand. Thank you.

  6. I was the walking Grammar of English. I still am. Basically when you mention something for the second time . Outside the rules. I have been here. Restricted expressions with the. The Hague . The Alps The Times The Thames Mount Snowdon Lake Windermere no articles etc

  7. Life is beatiful / the life
    friendship is previous
    the friendship
    happiness is important / the happiness
    I want to make money / The money
    she wants to lose weight / the weight
    he needs to earn respect / The respect, is general respected

  8. I want to feel joy he joy
    I felt on our first date
    cooperation is essentian
    silence is golden
    she wants to experience success of becoming a mager
    laughter of children is megical

    Thank you for impormasion cannel

  9. By Marcio

    Hi, Rebbeca!
    Your classes are Always pleasant, Rebbeca. Thanks one more time.

  10. Nice explanation but the last sentence about the children can also be general because it is not specifed which kids specific… 🤔🤔

  11. You are so excellent teacher I‘m so glad I learn a lot ;thank you very much God bless you

  12. She is the teacher who has taken out my trouble with articles. Thank you Mam..

  13. when they are explaining for us the earn our likes so i will give anyone teach me sth, thanks

  14. esta profesora se parece a doña chona, que vende tortillas por mi casa :v

  15. Thank you very much for your lessons!!! They are so precious.
    Many more success for your channel. ❤️

  16. Life when mentioned for the first time is an abstract concept. When limited to being specific then use the. I am a teacher on a long-term basis. Ok? Fair n square. I can tell why.

  17. Thank's for yours videos!👍 And "Hello" from the Ulyanovsk – the city in Russia, where was born the famous political leader Lenin.
    By the way, was it correct or not in this case to wright "the" before the name of my city and almost immediately after that to wright it one more before the "city"? And was it correct to rob the famous leader his "the"?)

  18. 😍😍😍 Its like listening to a patient mother teaching with love😃😃. (I'm sorry if I have mistakes, I'm learning).

  19. Most obviously I do. I try to proof read my writing . Abstract concepts do not need.

  20. It's a matter of definite or indefinite object- explained in grammatical terms.

  21. Thank you ma'am, I refreshed my English
    Language.. I'm jazz from the Philippines..☺️👍

  22. i learn lot of thing by watching your video you are the best teacher in this industry thank a lot madam keep posting such kind of video i really appriciate your video no word to describe you helping lots of people to learn english. once again thanks a lot!

  23. I have been learning English for many years but I now understood how to use (The) because of this lesson. Now I can use correctly this article. Thank you very much!

  24. "Laughter of children…" is also correct because we can talk about laughter in general of children.

  25. This is so helpful. I'm over the moon cause I learned this new things for me

  26. Actually,
    Every single topic or else "I should have really surprised to better understand"

    Thanks teacher(:

  27. You are such a great teacher who cleared my doubt about the thank you very much mam

  28. Why I always encounter the Netherlands, The United Kingdom and the Philippines, could you please explain the logic. Thank you

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