We have already learned the gender-specific definite article: el, la, los, las. We will now learn about the neutral definite article: lo.
We shall use the neutral definite article in cases in which no definite noun appears in the sentence. For example, we can say: ‘The best is…’ Here, the article refers to a state or condition that is the best.
In English there is no neutral definite article, and the word ‘what’ is often used.
1. What is certain is... Lo seguro es... 2. What I’m saying is... Lo que digo es...
When to Use ‘Lo’ and When to Use ‘Lo que’?
As shown in the examples above, Spanish makes use of the word ‘que’ (that) along with the neutral definite article, ‘lo.’
Use ‘lo’ when the neutral definite article precedes and is adjacent to a noun, i.e. ‘lo importante es…’ (what is important is…)
Use ‘lo que’ when the neutral definite article precedes and is adjacent to a verb, i.e. ‘lo que piensa Ud.” (what you-formal think)