Do You Need the Article ‘the’ With the Expression ‘Do the Ironing’?

When referring to the task of making clothes flat and smooth, we typically put the definite article “the” before “ironing”.

When referring to the task of making clothes flat and smooth, we typically put the definite article “the” before “ironing”.

I did the ironing before dinner.

In this context, the word ironing is uncountable and cannot be preceded by the indefinite article a/an; however, we can use other determiners, such as some, my, your, his, her, etc.

He did some ironing last night.

1. Can You Omit the Determiner Before ‘Ironing’?

In everyday English, we commonly speak about ironing washed clothes by using the expression “do the ironing” (with the article “the”).

If you do the ironing, I’ll clean the kitchen.

Being an uncountable noun, you cannot use the indefinite article (a/an) before “ironing”.

He did the ironing yesterday.

He did an ironing yesterday.

But you can use other determiners, like some, my, your, his, etc.

I must do some ironing tonight.

How did you do your ironing?

We usually include the determiner even if we are talking about ironing in a general sense.

Most people hate doing the ironing.

Omit the article, however, when using the single word “ironing” in a general way.

Jobs like ironing, cooking and cleaning may be stressful.

Instead of “do the ironing”, you can simply use the verb “iron”.

Do you know how to iron?

It is generally best to iron clothes while they are still slightly damp.

2. Clothes that are waiting to be ironed

Ironing” can also refer to the clothes that are waiting to be ironed (awaiting ironing).

There is a huge pile of ironing to be done.

In this context, use the article “the” or another determiner (some, much, little, less, my, your, etc.) according to the standard rules.

I managed to get all the ironing done before dinner.

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