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Definite Article


La Habana

El hombre fue a La Habana. (The man went to Havana.)

Photo by Alexander Bonilla used under terms of Creative Commons license.

Definition: An article that makes a noun refer to a particular item or items of its class. The definite articles are "the" in English and el, la, lo, los and las in Spanish. The Spanish el also can be part of a contraction: "a + el" forms the contraction al, and "de + el" forms del.

Note that Spanish and English have different rules as to when a definite article is needed or can be omitted. In general, Spanish often uses a definite article in cases where English does not.

Also known as: Artículo definido in Spanish. Definite articles are also sometimes referred to as definite determiners.

Examples: Definite articles are in boldface:

  • The man went to Havana. (El hombre fue a La Habana.)
  • The computers aren't working. (Las computadoras no funcionan.)
  • Mr. Brown is rich. (El señor Brown es rico.)
  • The dog that barks doesn't bite. (Perro que ladra no muerde.)

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