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The word "the" functions primarily as the definite grammatical article in the English language. The word originally entered the language as a demonstrative pronoun.

The alone may be used to eliminate the adjective "pre-eminent", as in "the hospital for back problems". In speech, the the in this use is often emphasized (or at least pronounced with a long E), but in written expressions, such as "the novelist of middle-class despair" it can stand without emphasis.

The can also mean "sufficient", as in "lacked the gumption to make his move". It can also be used as an adverb, as in "the more the merrier"; as a possessive pronoun[?], as in "can't walk right since the ankle went"; and as an expression of a ratio, as in "five apples the dollar".

It is generally pronounced with a long E before a word starting with a vowel and with a short E before a word beginning with a consonant, but this is not a hard and fast rule, as the pronunciation is also changed for emphasis.

See A, an.

There is also a rock band named The The.

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