The definite article ‘the’ is pronounced in two different ways. We normally pronounce ‘the’ with a short sound [thuh] for words such as the sky, the pineapple. However, when ‘the’ comes before a vowel sound, we pronounce it as a long [thee] for words such as the ice cream, the underground, the orange.
Here are some more examples:
Words beginning with a vowel but use the short sound [thuh] the university, the uniform, the universe
Words beginning with a consonant but use the long sound [thee] the hour, the honour student, the honest person
Uses of the article ‘a’ and ‘the’.
You use the when:
- it is clear which person or thing you are talking about: I put the keys on the table.
- there is only one of these people or things: I saw the president in London yesterday.
You use a when:
- you have not talked about something before: I read a book last week.
- you say what jobs people do: She is training to be a nurse.
Sometimes there is no article before a noun
- She is at home.
- He is in bed.
- I am at school.
But we use ‘the’ for the following:
- He is at the cinema.
- We are going to the hospital.
- I went to the bank yesterday.