Do laundry Or Do 'the' laundry ?


Senior Member
Hi everyone, which one is most correct ? Or are they different ?

I do the laundry / Or / I do laundry.

  • I've heard both about equally. "I've got to do laundry this afternoon" is probably what I'd say, yet "I've got to do the laundry" sounds fine, as well.
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    I do the laundry.
    With the definite article this sentence suggests a specific set of laundry - laundry for the family, perhaps.

    I do laundry.
    Without the article this sentence is talking about laundry in general, suggesting that this person works in a commercial laundry or, at least, does laundry for payment.
    Both are correct depending on the context (required by forum rules):

    I do laundry = I do laundry in general, habitually, perhaps it's my job.
    I do the laundry = I always do some specific laundry, e.g. the laundry of my household.

    The exact meaning depends on the context:

    I do laundry to earn some extra cash.
    I do the laundry on Wednesdays.
    I am going to do the laundry this afternoon. I will wash whatever currently needs to be washed. The emphasis is on the items in need of washing, with secondary attention to the task itself.

    I am going to do laundry later today. I will wash some or all of the dirty cloths, bedding, towels, etc. The emphasis is on the task itself.
    I concur completely with cuchu. If I were referring to the past and said "I did the laundry", I would mean that I had washed everything that needed washing. On the other hand, "I did laundry all morning" could be followed by "and I still have more things to wash this afternoon!" It would not make sense to me, however, to say "I did the laundry all morning, and I still have other clothes to wash."
    Interesting asides, cuchu and GWB.
    You didn't mention the specific sentences that we have been asked to compare.
    What do you think of them.
    I do the laundry.
    I do laundry.​
    What do you think of them.
    I do the laundry.
    I do laundry.
    Neither of them makes sense to me as a stand-alone sentence; and even when supplemented with extra words, "I do laundry" sounds strange to me.

    I do the laundry:confused:
    I do the laundry on Monday afternoons:tick:

    I do laundry:cross:
    I do laundry for a living:confused::confused:
    Who does the laundry in your house?
    What do you do on Monday mornings?
    What do you do in this little room?
    I do the laundry.

    The second sentence is tricker :)
    What do you do for a living?
    I do laundry.
    What are you doing?:)



    This is a great example of the two different ways meaning the same thing:

    I'm doing laundry.

    I'm doing the laundry.

    Speaking for myself, I could easily say or hear either one, and the meaning would be the same.
    Interesting asides, cuchu and GWB.
    You didn't mention the specific sentences that we have been asked to compare.
    What do you think of them.
    I do the laundry.
    I do laundry.
    Panj, I didn't think of them as asides at all, but as explicit considerations of the specific sentences we have been asked to compare. Cuchu and I both explained what difference the use of the article made, with Cuchu's examples being in the present tense and my own in the past.
    When I go do laundry (Look. Here, I just used laundry without "the," unintentionally.), I normally say, "I gotta go do laundry." or "I gotta go do my laundry."

    But when I have to, say, do several laundries, and I have to do one of them, I'd say, "I gotta go do the laundry"
    I'm doing the laundry.
    ... the laundry for the household.

    I'm doing laundry.

    ... possibly the same, possibly laundry for someone else - for example for the school hockey team.

    Hi, all. I have a specific question. Does "I am doing my laundry" indicate the clothes are all mine, or it's possible they include other memebers of my family.
    Thank you.
    Normally "my laundry" means the clothes of the person who's speaking. It's possible to stretch the meaning to "the laundry I am responsible for," in which case the clothes of the rest of the family might be included as well, but unless I had other evidence to the contrary, I would ordinarily assume "my laundry" to mean the speaker's clothes only.
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    This thread has been added to a previous discussion.
    Cagey, moderator

    for a drawing i need to translate [...] what is correct in this case?
    [Sorry but we can't help with Spanish translations in the English Only forum. DonnyB - moderator]
    "let's do laundry" or "let's do the laundry"
    thank you so so much!
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    "Do laundry" is an activity. You can spend 15 minutes doing laundry. You can spend 2 hours doing laundry.

    "The laundry" is the pile of clothes that needs washing. "Do the laundry" means clean all of those clothes. It might take 15 minutes. It might take 2 hours.