Should we put a definite article before tools or instruments when we are talking not about a particular one, but rather the whole class? For example:

I don't like coffee from (the?) espresso machine.

As far as I know, the definite article is used with musical instruments in similar contexts:

George can play the piano.

Does it apply to tools or instruments or devices in general?

  • 1
    If you know about the definite article, you might have included in your question before the noun phrase "definite article"! Jul 15, 2017 at 6:58
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    @P.E.Dant if I knew enough about it, I wouldn't have asked the question ;)
    – olegst
    Jul 15, 2017 at 7:37
  • You should look at your question before it was edited by clicking here. As far as I know implies that you already know all about where the article should be included. There are no special usages for musical instruments, kitchen appliances, or noun phrases like definite article itself. Jul 15, 2017 at 8:25
  • @P.E.Dant No, I was talking only about musical instruments as it follows from the rest of the sentence.
    – olegst
    Jul 15, 2017 at 9:28

1 Answer 1


As far as the first sentence is concerned, the 'the' is correct if you are talking about a specific espresso machine as a part of your conversation prior to this sentence. That is, even if what you mean is that you do not like coffee from any espresso machine. But, if there is no specific machine being talked about, then the sentence would be better off with,

I don't like coffee from espresso machines.

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