Insert the necessary article:

Where did you buy umbrella?

For this The book has answered

Where did you buy the umbrella?

Is it correct to use the instead of an, and, if so, then why?

  • 3
    Interestingly, you wrote the book in your question, not a book. It's exactly the same use of a/the as in your example sentence. – Damkerng T. Mar 20 '16 at 9:58

Yes, the is the correct article, because the umbrella has already been bought. Therefore, it's assumed we are talking about a particular umbrella – namely, the umbrella you bought and now own.

Interestingly enough, if you didn't have an umbrella, and you were asking me where you could buy one, the article would be different:

Where can I buy an umbrella?

But if I'm asking you where you got your umbrella, I use a definite article:

Where did you buy the umbrella?

or I could use a determiner:

Where did you buy that umbrella?

I'm guessing you were confused because the umbrella has not already been mentioned. The "already been mentioned" guidance for when to use the is just a rule of thumb with plenty of exceptions. There are many ways to allude to a particular item without mentioning it verbally. And there are many other uses for the definate article, too, such as when we want to make a "generalized reference" to something. That's why I would say to you:

I heard you play the piano.

and not:

I heard you play a piano.

  • As definite article rules says the is used before musical instruments,thanks man – Anshul Negi Mar 20 '16 at 9:54
  • 1
    Well, you can use a before a musical instrument, too: Who left a clarinet on the floor over there? – J.R. Mar 20 '16 at 11:47
  • 1
    "Playing a violin" would only be suitable if the speaker is describing a scene, and only wants to convey the physical presence of the instrument itself. "Playing the violin," rather, carries with it the connotation of the act or skill of playing the instrument. I copied this from some site – Anshul Negi Mar 20 '16 at 12:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.