Key Difference – The vs Thee
When we are talking about pronunciation, the and thee are two ways of pronouncing the definite article ‘the’. The key difference between the and thee is that ‘the’ is pronounced as the in front of consonant sounds whereas it is pronounced as thee in front of vowel sounds. However, there is no clear cut rule about these pronunciations. It is also important to note that thee is an archaic word for the second person pronoun you.
When to Use The?
The is the only definite article in the English language. This article always indicates something specific. It can be used when the audience know what exactly you are refereeing to. For example,
I saw the child talking to a policeman.
(Audience knows the child the writer or speaker is referring to)
I found a temporary solution to the problem.
The woman I met yesterday called me.
As mentioned above, there are two ways to pronounce the. It can be pronounced as the (thuh) or thee. The is usually pronounced as thuh when it follows a word that begins with a consonant sound. Although there is no rule about these pronunciations, most people use these variations. For example, we pronounce the child as thuh child not thee child. Some more examples include,
The girl, the boy, the father, the house, the computer, the science teacher, the swimming pool, etc.
Note that the pronunciation of the and thee depends on the sound, not the letter. That is, the is pronounced as thuh, when it is followed by a consonant sound. This is why words like house, university, unicorn, etc. are pronounced with the, not thee.
When to Use Thee?
When the definite article the is followed by a word that begins with a vowel sound, the definite article is pronounced as thee. For example,
The egg → pronounced as → thee egg
The apple → pronounced as → thee apple
The hour → pronounced as → thee hour
The English teacher → pronounced as → thee English teacher
The ice cream → pronounced as → thee ice cream
The is also pronounced as thee when one wants to add emphasize. For example, “He met the queen” may be pronounced as “He met thee queen”. This pronunciation stresses on the word queen.
Thee – Second Person Pronoun You
Thee is also an archaic word that has the same meaning as the second person pronoun you. For example,
Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day?
I beseech thee to grant mercy to us, my lord.
With this ring, I thee wed.
The king has decided to send thee to exile.
What is the difference between The and Thee?
Vowels vs Consonants:
The: Pronunciation the (thuh) is used before a word that begins with a consonant sound.
Thee: Pronunciation thee is used before a word that begins with a vowel sound.
The: Pronunciation the does not add emphasize.
Thee: Pronunciation thee adds emphasize to the word that follows it.
The: The is a definite article.
Thee: Thee is an archaic word that refers to you ( the second person pronoun)
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