Usage note : the

Usage note : the
In French, determiners agree in gender and number with the noun they precede ; the is translated by le + masculine singular noun (le chien), by la + feminine singular noun (la chaise), by l’ + masculine or feminine singular noun beginning with a vowel or mute ‘h’ (l’auteur, l’homme, l’absence, l’histoire) and by les + plural noun (les hommes, les femmes).
When the is used after a preposition in English, the two words (prep + the) are often translated by one word in French. If the preposition would normally be translated by de in French (of, about, from etc.) the prep + the is translated by du + masculine noun (du chien), by de la + feminine noun (de la femme), by de l’ + singular noun beginning with a vowel or mute ‘h ’ (de l’auteur, de l’histoire) and by des + plural noun (des hommes, des femmes). If the preposition would usually be translated by à (at, to etc.) the prep + the is translated according to the number and gender of the noun, by au (au chien), à la (à la femme), à l’ (à l’enfant), aux (aux hommes, aux femmes).
Other than this, there are few problems in translating the into French.
The following cases are, however, worth remembering as not following exactly the pattern of the English :
the good, the poor etc.
= les bons, les pauvres etc.
Charles the First, Elizabeth the Second etc.
= Charles Premier, Elizabeth Deux etc.
she’s THE violinist of the century
= c’est LA violoniste du siècle or c’est la plus grande violoniste du siècle
the Tudors, the Batemans etc.
= les Tudor, les Bateman etc.
For expressions such as the more, the better, see the entry the.
This dictionary contains usage notes on such topics as weight measurement, days of the week, rivers, illnesses, aches and pains, the human body, and musical instruments, many of which use the.
For other particular usages of the see the entry the.

Big English-French dictionary. 2003.

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