Definite Article with Nationalities


Rule 7.8: Use the definite article when referring to nationalities that do not have a plural form.


Correct: The Japanese are highly regarded for their politeness.
Incorrect: Japanese are highly regarded for their politeness.

Correct: The English are known as a seafaring people.
Incorrect: English are known as a seafaring people.


Nationalities that end in ss, ch, ese, or sh have no plural form:


aaash

the English
the Irish
the Scottish
the Welsh
the Spanish
the British

aaaaese

the Japanese
the Chinese
the Vietnamese
the Taiwanese
the Portuguese
the Maltese

aaach

the French
the Dutch
hhhhh
kkkkk
llllll

aass

the Swiss
kkkkk
lllll
ddddd

kkkkk


Rule 7.9: Use Ø when referring to nationalities that have a plural form.


Italians do it better.
Germans dislike inefficiency.
Canadians don’t mind cold weather.


Exercise 10: Add the to nationalities that have no plural form and pluralize the nationalities that have a plural form.


Rule 7.10: Use either Ø or the definite article when the word people is used when referring to nationalities.


Brazilian people are very hospitable. (used to describe Brazilian people in general)
The Brazilian people are very hospitable. (more formal, used to categorize Brazilian people as a people or nation)

Swiss people enjoy a high standard of living. (used to describe Swiss people in general)
The Swiss people enjoy a high standard of living. (more formal, used to categorize Swiss people as a people or nation)


Exercise 11: Fill in the blanks with Ø, the, or both.


Extra! Use the definite article when referring to a specific group of people who have the same nationality.


The Spanish won the 2010 World Cup. (the Spanish team)
The Greeks will be arriving at seven. (a specific group of Greek people)
Jane reserved a table for the French. (a specific group of French people)


Exercise 12: Fill in the blanks with Ø, the, or both.