Television or The Television

Which of the following is correct?

  • Is there anything on the television tonight?
  • Is there anything on television tonight?

The second sentence without the article THE is correct. Why?

When we talk about television in the sense of television programs (UK = programmes) that are broadcast (= transmitted), we DO NOT use the article THE.

  • Television became widely available in the 1950s.
  • I wonder what is on television tonight.

The word TV (written with capital letters) is pronounced as the individual letters T – V (which sounds like Te-Ve). This use is more common than saying the complete word “television” which has 4 syllables.

  • There was a good movie on TV last night.

Sometimes we informally call the television ‘Tele’

  • What’s on tele tonight?

BUT…

We use the article THE when we refer to television as the device or the piece of furniture.

  • Don’t put the glass on the television, the water may spill onto it.
  • The television didn’t fit in the wall unit.
  • Don’t sit so close to the TV.

When we talk about more than one television, or televisions in a general sense, we don’t use the article THE.

  • While televisions were available in the 1930s, their popularity only increased during the late 1940s.

Summary Chart

Television of THE Television. When do you use the article THE? Television, TV, Tele.

I hope this helped you understand when to use the article THE with the word TELEVISION.

Do you watch television to improve your English?

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