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The (/ðə, ð/ (About this soundlisten)) is a grammatical article in English, denoting persons or things already mentioned, under discussion, implied or otherwise presumed familiar to listeners, readers or speakers. It is the definite article in English. The is the most commonly used word in the English language; studies and analyses of texts have found it to account for seven percent of all printed English-language words.[1] It is derived from gendered articles in Old English which combined in Middle English and now has a single form used with pronouns of either gender. The word can be used with both singular and plural nouns and with a noun that starts with any letter. This is different from many other languages which have different forms of the definite article for different genders or numbers.

Pronunciation

In most dialects, "the" is pronounced as /ðə/ (with the voiced dental fricative /ð/ followed by a schwa) when followed by a consonant sound, and as /ðiː/ (homophone of pronoun thee) when followed by a vowel sound or used as an emphatic form.[2]

Modern American and New Zealand English have an increasing tendency to limit usage of /ðiː/ pronunciation and use /ðə/, even before a vowel.[3][4] The (/ðə, ð/ (About this soundlisten)) is a grammatical article in English, denoting persons or things already mentioned, under discussion, implied or otherwise presumed familiar to listeners, readers or speakers. It is the definite article in English. The is the most commonly used word in the English language; studies and analyses of texts have found it to account for seven percent of all printed English-language words.[1] It is derived from gendered articles in Old English which combined in Middle English and now has a single form used with pronouns of either gender. The word can be used with both singular and plural nouns and with a noun that starts with any letter. This is different from many other languages which have different forms of the definite article for different genders or numbers.