When do you use de/den/det for "the"?

Sorry if this is a really basic question, but I've seen this used when I didn't think it would be and not used where I thought it would.

I know de is for plural words and den is for common gender words and det for neuter, but I'm confused as to when you'd put it before a word.

I thought it was for before definite adjectives at first, but I've seen definite nouns used with adjectives sans de/den/det, and adjectiveless (definite) nouns with de/den/det before them.

I'm confused. Is it optional to use them, or is there a rule?

Tack för att ni läste!

January 19, 2017


"Den/det/de" is used when the definite noun has an adjective before it.

i.e. "Den stora hunden" and not "Stora hunden".

It can also be used without an adjective to mean "That".

"Den hunden" - "That dog".

January 19, 2017

I have actually seen some native-Swede stuff not using den/det/de before an adjective with a definite noun. Thank you, however. :)

January 19, 2017

Whoops, I missed that part of your post

Some adjectives don't use the definite article. I can't remember which ones exactly but off the top of my head I can think of "Hela" doesn't use "Den/Det/De".

January 19, 2017

Case 1: the unit is a name. E.g. Vita huset 'The White House' about that White House, but det vita huset 'the white house' about other white houses.

Case 2: with certain adjectives. These are adjectives that in themselves contain something that makes it clear that the thing is definite. In some cases either works, in some cases you can't have the definite article.
Numerals, quantifiers etc. (I've written more about this somewhere but since the search function is down for me I can't find it atm).

Also what Bernie said in his first comment is very important.

January 19, 2017

Lol I actually get this sometimes confused too and Im a Swede!

January 20, 2017
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