Grammar: The Definite Article (‘The’) with Names of Places

English Level: Upper-Intermediate, Advanced

Language Focus: A review of when to use the definite article with the names of places

Worksheet Download: definite-article-geography-worksheet.docx (scroll down to study the exercises online)

Jump to: Exercises

A proper noun is the unique name of a person, place, or thing that starts with a capital letter, for example, 'John', 'Sweden', 'Google'. Before proper nouns, we generally do not use an article. For example,

  • Matthew is a man.
  • He lives in Canada.
  • He worked for IBM.

However, sometimes you can find the definite article 'the' before proper nouns.

  • Carver lives in the United States.
  • He lives near the Pacific Ocean.

Why? Well, it's hard to give a reason. However, there are some rules we can follow. Please read below and do the exercises to practice.

boats on the Pacific Ocean

Boats on the Pacific Ocean

Rule #1: Use the Definite Article 'The' with Countries that are States, Unions, Republics, etc.

We use 'the' before countries that contain a word like 'Union', 'Emirates', 'Kingdom.' These words mean that the country is a group of smaller states.

  • the United States
  • the Republic of Ireland
  • the Czech Republic
  • the United Arab Emirates

We also use 'the' before countries that end in a plural 's'.

  • the Philippines (= the full name is The Republic of the Philippines)
  • the Bahamas (= the full name is The Republic of the Bahamas)
  • the Netherlands


Rule #2: Use the Definite Article 'The' with Names of Rivers, Seas, Oceans, etc.

We say the following:

  • the Nile / the Nile River
  • the Caspian Sea
  • the Pacific / the Pacific Ocean
  • the Mediterranean / the Mediterranean Sea
  • the Panama Canal

Rule #3: Use the Definite Article 'The' with Deserts

  • the Sahara / the Sahara Desert


Rule #4: Do Not Use 'the' with Lakes or Mounts

  • I live by Lake Ontario.
  • I swam in Lake Superior.
  • He can see Mount Fuji.
  • She can see Mount Rushmore.


Rule #5 - Use the Definite Article 'The' with Mountain Ranges

Just like how we add 'the' to countries that end with a plural 's' (the Philippines), we add 'the' before mountain ranges (which also end in a plural noun).

  • the Rockies / the Rocky Mountains
  • the Himalayas / the Himalayan Mountains 


Rule #6 - Use the Definite Article 'The' with Building Names

We usually use 'the' before the names of buildings.

  • the Emperor's Palace
  • the Tower of Pisa
  • the Louvre
  • the Pentagon
  • The Marriott / The Marriott Hotel

This is not true, however, in some cases:

  • The names of stations: Grand Central Station, Main Station
  • The names of airports: Pearson Airport, Gatwick Airport
  • The names of universities (without 'of'): Columbia University, Santa Monica College

General Rule: Use the Definite Article 'The' with Names that Have the Preposition 'Of'

  • the Island of Lesbos
  • the University of Toronto
  • the Republic of Congo
  • the Gulf of Mexico


To summarize, use 'the' before the following:

  • proper nouns that contain a word that means they are a group (unions, republics, etc.)
  • deserts (the Mojave)
  • rivers, seas, oceans, etc. (but not lakes!)
  • mountain ranges (the Rockies)
  • building names (the Pentagon)
  • proper nouns that include 'of' (the University of Michigan)

Do not use 'the' for everything else, which includes

  • lake names (Lake Superior)
  • mounts (Mount Everest)
  • street names (Main Street)
  • airports (JFK Airport)
  • stations (Broadway Station)

After reviewing the above rules, try the practice exercises below.

Exercises: Using Articles with Names of Places

Instructions: Add the definite article `the' if necessary.

  1.  Prague is the capital of  Czech Republic.
  2. When I was in  England, I visited  Tower of London.
  3.  Rhine is a river that goes through  Netherlands.
  4. On my trip in  Asia, I had a chance to visit  Mount Aso and  Yangtze River in  China.



  1. I left  Hong Kong via  Hong Kong International Airport.
  2.  Mohave Desert is located in  United States.
  3.  Appalachian Mountains are in  North America.
  4. When I was in  New York, I visited  Empire State Building and  Seneca Lake.
  5.  Sea of Japan is located between  Japan and  South Korea. It is part of  Pacific Ocean.


  1.  MET Museum is located on  Fifth Avenue.
  2. I met a man from  New Zealand when I was skiing in  Swiss Alps.
  3. On my trip around the world, I visited  Jamaica,  Bahamas,  Australia, and  Republic of Congo.
  4. John lives on  Fraser Street in  Sydney.
  5.  Poland is part of  European Union.
  6. The tourist arrived at  Manaus Airport and then took a tour of  Amazon River.



I hope these general rules about article use will be helpful. If you find a mistake or have any questions, please leave a comment below.

Best of luck in your English studies.

- Created by Matthew Barton (copyright) of

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75 comments on “Grammar: The Definite Article (‘The’) with Names of Places

  1. Lenka (Posted on 2-25-2017 at 14:59) Reply

    Hello, is Honk Kong IA written with the definite article?

    1. Lenka (Posted on 2-25-2017 at 15:01) Reply

      Hong :D

      1. mb Post author (Posted on 2-26-2017 at 19:42) Reply

        Hello Lenka. No, it doesn’t need an article.

        1. Deepa (Posted on 12-13-2020 at 10:58) Reply

          What article is used before the word mountain?
          A mountain or the mountain

          1. Anonymous (Posted on 2-21-2021 at 22:12)

            If particular then, the mountain otherwise a mountain

          2. GAUTAM KUMAR (Posted on 9-23-2021 at 07:09)

            When it is a part mountain then we go for a mountain ..example-the everest Mt.
            But when it is a group of mountain then we go with the..example-the Himalayas.

  2. Anonymous (Posted on 7-1-2017 at 09:44) Reply

    in exercise I noticed that before “Hong Kong Int. Airport” definite article “The” was used but before “Manaus Airport” not. Why?

  3. Deepak (Posted on 9-26-2018 at 00:54) Reply

    When ordinals take definite article than in the above exercise why th definite article not used with fifth avenue

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 9-26-2018 at 02:10) Reply

      Hello. If you were referring to the avenue in an ordinal sense (i.e. as part of an order of numbered items), then it would be the fifth avenue. However, we can see that ‘Fifth’ is capitalized, which means it’s a proper noun, i.e. the name of the street. For street names, no article is needed.

  4. Bryan (Posted on 10-3-2018 at 14:21) Reply

    Hello! What about “the” in front of the names of creeks , streams, etc.? You usually hear Mill Creek not the Mill Creek or Meadow Branch instead of the Meadow Branch. Are there any rules you can point to explain the definite article for such uses?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 10-3-2018 at 21:14) Reply

      Hi Bryan. I don’t know a rule. I would say generally no article is used, as you have mentioned. It is funny that is different from rivers that require an article though.

  5. savio (Posted on 6-20-2019 at 12:44) Reply

    Can we use the boefore the state of california

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 6-21-2019 at 11:23) Reply


      1. Ali Sina (Posted on 10-25-2023 at 08:32) Reply

        Hello, can we use “the” with American southwest?
        Like this example: …… American southwest is famous for its beautiful deserts and canyons.
        Do we say the American southwest or American soutwest?

        1. mb Post author (Posted on 10-25-2023 at 09:03) Reply

          You should use ‘The’ before American Southwest . If you check Google, it seems like it is also a standard to capitalize ‘Southwest’.

  6. Alen (Posted on 10-9-2019 at 10:12) Reply

    Can we use “a” with the proper names like here: “He is a Lomonosov of the field”.?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 10-9-2019 at 15:14) Reply


  7. Yunita (Posted on 2-4-2020 at 21:26) Reply

    Which one is correct :
    1. I want to go to the Sydney Opera house.
    2. I want to go to Sydney Opera house.

    Thank you!

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 2-5-2020 at 01:57) Reply

      1. And it you should capitalize the H in House because that’s part of its name.

  8. Galou (Posted on 6-4-2020 at 11:08) Reply

    Hello !
    Why do we say “Central Park” without “the”? Is there a rule ??

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 6-4-2020 at 13:04) Reply

      Hello. I’m not aware of any formal rule but it does seem like we do not use ‘the’ before park names. Here in Vancouver we have Stanley Park, for example. (no article).

  9. Shireen (Posted on 7-15-2020 at 10:42) Reply

    Hello. Can you tell me which one of these is correct:
    The Krugen Park is located near the Mozambique border. or The Krugen Park is located near Mozambique border.

    1. Shireen (Posted on 7-15-2020 at 10:43) Reply

      Sorry I meant The Kruger Park

    2. mb Post author (Posted on 7-15-2020 at 15:36) Reply

      Krugen Park is located near the Mozambique border. (no ‘The’ with Krugen Park, but ‘the’ with border).

  10. Rita (Posted on 8-24-2020 at 19:06) Reply

    Hi. Why Caspian sea has “the”. My teacher said it does need any article

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 8-25-2020 at 02:11) Reply

      Bodies of water, such as the Caspian Sea, typically have ‘the’ in front of them.

  11. Andrew Lister (Posted on 9-5-2020 at 11:40) Reply

    I was interested to stumble across your article, because I was just wondering why a few cities also take the definite article as part of their names. My missing was triggered by A Coru±a in Galicia, but I also know of Den Haag in the Netherlands. I cannot think quickly of any other examples, but you don’t seem to have a rule encompassing these cases. Can you shed any light upon what is going on here, since you have clearly thought about this much more than I have?

    1. AL (Posted on 9-5-2020 at 11:42) Reply

      I meant to write `musing’ not `missing’, in case that was not clear!

    2. mb Post author (Posted on 9-5-2020 at 21:03) Reply

      Hello. I haven’t thought about it *that* much more than you have; most of the rules above are taken from grammar books that I felt accurately represented how we use the definite article. As for articles in non-English, your guess is as good as mine. My guess, for example for The Hague, is that ‘hague’ means something such like ‘the Capital’ (the web suggests so), so everyone in the region always referred to the city as ‘the capital’, and knew exactly which capital they were referring to, and the name was borne from that.

      1. Marina (Posted on 9-22-2022 at 07:44) Reply

        This post is so very useful, thank you!
        I actually read an article about THE Hague and THE Netherlands. They say that the Netherlands means “low lying lands”. So it falls into the rule on ‘a whole consisting of several parts’, like THE United States.
        THE Hague, they say, means “the hedge”. It has a “the” before its name as this originates from the Dutch appellation (title) ‘s-Gravenhage, which translates to “The Count’s Hedge”.
        So, once we recognize the history behind some names, the THE starts to make sense.
        The same with Ukraine. 20 years ago it was THE Ukraine. In older times it used to mean “the outskirts, the borderland”. With the declaration of independence in 1991, the Ukrainians decided they do not need the article for the name of their country.

  12. Andrew L (Posted on 9-9-2020 at 00:35) Reply

    Ha! A Galician friend of mine has just pointed out Los Angeles, La Paz and El Alamo…
    So it seems it is much more common in Spanish than in English to use the The in place names.
    Makes me think of Las Ramblas, too. But then my mind leaps to the Shambles in York. Except that it is usually just that, the `the’ is not usually capitalized as part of the name, is it? Or The Lanes in Brighton, or The Mall in London. But then, those are all really just street names, not cities or towns. So that is really a different use-case, isn’t it?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 9-9-2020 at 22:09) Reply

      I’m not familiar with most of these places, so I can’t hazard a guess. Generally my assumption is the same as for The Hague — whatever word comes after ‘the’ was the only one of that thing (e.g. lanes, mall) in the past, hence the use of the definite article.

  13. Andrew (Posted on 11-24-2020 at 06:20) Reply

    Everyone in the family bullied her and made her do all the chores, she was indeed a Cinderella.
    This is a practice question, so I wanna ask why it uses “a” not “the” before Cinderella.
    is there any other example or rule?

    1. MB (Posted on 11-24-2020 at 08:54) Reply

      Hello. Firstly, that sentence is a comma splice (run-on sentence). Regarding the article, either could be used. If you say “she was indeed a Cinderella”, you are saying that there are many/several Cinderellas in the world, and she is one of them. If you say that ‘she was the Cinderella’, you are saying that every family has a cinderella (just like every family has a mother), and in this family, she is _the_ cinderella (just like the mother is _the_ mother) of the family. I hope that helps.

    2. Marina (Posted on 9-22-2022 at 18:08) Reply

      The indefinite article “A/An”, among other things, means “a class of objects”. E.g. “I have an apple in my hand.” Just some apple, not a pear, not a tangerine, but an apple – no matter the color, the size or the variety. Or, “There is a stove and a fridge in the kitchen.” Again, it is a ‘class of objects’, some fridge, some stove, details are unimportant. In the “Cinderella” example, Cinderella here becomes a common noun, meaning a hard-working and undervalued someone vs. that particular girl Cinderella in the fairytale. So, the indefinite article “A” tells you that it is that class of objects (hard-working and underappreciated), and it is a metaphorical use of a proper name Cinderella to such an extent that it does not have to be a young girl. The metaphorical transfer of the meaning of “Cinderella” allows to describe anyone in her situation. Hence, “A”.

  14. michela (Posted on 12-8-2020 at 08:58) Reply

    hello, is it correct to say: Manchester Football shirts or The Manchester Football shirts?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 12-8-2020 at 09:40) Reply

      If you are speaking in general about Manchester football shirts, then don’t use ‘the’. If you are speaking specifically about some definite (specific) shirts that your listener knows, then use ‘the’ (this is why we call ‘the’ the definite article).

  15. ET (Posted on 12-21-2020 at 04:12) Reply

    “Sea of Japan”?? Why politicize grammar? You mean the “East Sea”!

    1. Alexa (Posted on 5-31-2021 at 20:26) Reply

      hello do we need to add the if we want to say, I went to the supermarket.
      I played with my ball at the park.
      or those two sentences can stand alone without “the”?

      1. mb Post author (Posted on 6-1-2021 at 09:39) Reply

        You need ‘the’ in both.

  16. Mountain name with using articles (Posted on 2-1-2021 at 05:54) Reply

    Mountain names with using articles

    1. Matthew Barton (Posted on 2-1-2021 at 15:31) Reply

      See rule #5.

  17. Jay (Posted on 4-5-2021 at 19:02) Reply

    Hi!, Why does a center need an article? e.g. the Federal Judicial Center, the Google News Publisher Center

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 4-6-2021 at 09:40) Reply

      Hello. It needs an article because the word ‘center’ here refers to an organization or building. These are distinct things that can be counted. (You can easily imagine two separate judicial centers, which shows you can count them). If it is a countable noun (and singular), you’ll need an article.

  18. Beatrice * English Teacher (Posted on 6-5-2021 at 05:21) Reply

    Matthew Barton you are the best!!! Thanks for such clear explanation !

  19. Rina (Posted on 6-19-2021 at 07:20) Reply

    Hi, just to confirm a potential rule: do we use `the’ with names of forests too? I can only think of the Amazon but I can imagine it applies to others too? I came across a sentence that bothered me “It is called Amazon” and while there’s no huge error, I’m sure there’s a reason it bothered me. Thank you

    1. Gozel006 (Posted on 6-9-2023 at 19:37) Reply

      Hi,guys.I have a question.Can we use “the” before hair? Ex:He was a tall man with the or _ dark hair.

      1. mb Post author (Posted on 6-9-2023 at 21:10) Reply

        In that sentence, you should not use ‘the’.

  20. Pepa (Posted on 7-30-2021 at 11:51) Reply

    Most countries are known by two names: a protocol, formal, full, or official name; and a geographical, common, or short name.

    The long form (official title) is used when the state is targeted as a legal entity:
    This Decision is addressed to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
    The French Republic is authorised to …

    If the recurrence of the name of a state in the text leads to a preference for using the short form, it can be introduced with the phrase `hereinafter referred to as …(short name)’.

    The short form (short name) is used when the state is referred to geographically or economically:
    Workers residing in France
    Exports from Greece …

  21. Pepa (Posted on 7-30-2021 at 11:58) Reply

    Some names include an article, such as the Bronx (in New York), The Hague (in the Netherlands), The Valley, The Farrington, and The Quarter (in Anguilla), The Plains (in Virginia), The Dalles (in Oregon), The Pas (in Manitoba), The Hyde, the West End, and the East End (in London), the Vatican.

  22. Rob Hung (Posted on 11-27-2021 at 02:22) Reply

    Why people write the Auckland Region (with the) and Guangdong Province (without the)? Both region and province are words used to describe a geographical area. Why is there a difference between them?

    1. mb (Posted on 11-27-2021 at 13:35) Reply

      Good question. I agree with you that ‘the’ should proceed both ~ region and ~ province. Most of the time when we talk about provinces, however, it’s more natural to say either the province name ‘Guangdong’ or ‘the province of Guandong’. It’s not common to say ~ province anyway, e.g. I’ve never heard someone say ‘Ontario province’.

      1. Rob Hung (Posted on 11-27-2021 at 19:59) Reply

        Hi mb,

        Thank you for your response. When people describe a city-size geographical area, e.g. Auckland, I notice the following difference: Auckland (proper noun, without the), the City of Auckland (formal name, with the), Auckland City (shorter formal name, without the). However, when describing a larger geographical area, it becomes the Region of Auckland (long formal name, with the) and the Auckland Region (short formal name, also with the). I wonder why is there a such difference? If we apply the same grammar rules, shouldn’t we say the Auckland City instead?

        Furthermore, it seems to me that a lot of non-English speaking countries don’t seem to follow the “the Auckland Region” rule. Instead, they just use XXXX Region, XXXX Province, XXXX State, XXXX Department instead. Some typical examples can be find in the Wikipedia articles of Badakhshan Province (Afghanistan), Atyrau Region (Kazakhstan), and Khatlon Region (Tajikistan) etc. Another example is that the Chinese media tend to use XXXX Province (e.g. Fujian Province instead of the Fujian Province) to describe one of their provinces. Are they all wrong? How come all of them are wrong? We are not living in the 16th century, nowadays English is pretty much the international language. As professional writers, wouldn’t they pick up these small grammar mistakes long time ago? Why would they continue to write XXXX Province instead of the XXXX Province or the Province of XXXX?

        1. MB (Posted on 11-28-2021 at 13:35) Reply

          Hello again. I understand your questions, but ultimately I think article usage for foreign countries is really based on convention (i.e. popular use in that region), not strict rules. This page aims to provide some general rules for article use with geographic names because it is so confusing (these rules were found in Raymond Murphy’s Grammar In Use book). I agree that a sentence like “He comes from Badakshan Province” sounds incorrect. However, when dealing with proper nouns (names of company’s/cities/regions), I feel like they have the right to dictate how it is written.

          Also, Auckland City seems to describe a region near the central business district of Auckland, so, as a proper noun itself, it doesn’t need an article. I hope this helps.

  23. Rob Hung (Posted on 11-30-2021 at 05:09) Reply

    Hi MB, thank you for your reply. I think I understand your point about article usage for foreign countries. It seems to me that they treat Badakshan Province as a proper noun, so no “the” is needed, but I’m still confused about the usage adopted by native English-speaking countries. Did you mean that Auckland City (as a proper noun) actually means the Auckland CBD, not the City of Auckland? What about the Auckland Region? Wouldn’t it be a proper noun for the Region of Auckland too? If so, why isn’t the definite article “the” omitted in this case? Thanks.

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 11-30-2021 at 14:01) Reply

      Hello. Looking at this,,_New_Zealand, it seems to define Auckland City as the urban city area, and Auckland (or Greater Auckland) in general as an area that includes neighboring areas. This might be similar to the concept of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. I do not live in New Zealand so I am not an expert on regional naming conventions. I would be surprised to hear a native New Zealander say “You should visit Auckland Region”. I imagine he’d say, “You should visit Auckland / the Auckland region / the region of Auckland.”.

  24. Erdem (Posted on 12-3-2021 at 03:36) Reply

    Hello.. is it correct to say “the” with proper name: the Adele’s concert or the Adele’s concert ticket ? etc.

    1. MB (Posted on 12-3-2021 at 13:14) Reply

      You can use ‘the’ with a proper noun if that noun becomes an adjective, e.g. the Adele concert or ‘the Adele concert ticket’. Do not put an apostrophe + s (‘s) on a noun when it becomes an adjective.

  25. Misbha (Posted on 12-30-2021 at 06:47) Reply

    Which article is used before Directions-East west, north,south
    And which article is used before Corners-Northeast, Northwest,Southeast, Southwest

    1. MB (Posted on 12-30-2021 at 09:40) Reply

      Hello. Those words are adverbs, so no article is needed, e.g. “Go northeast. / We will drive southwest.” If you are using these directions to refer to a place, e.g. “the north” (meaning the northern part of a country), then you would use the definite article “the”, e.g. “She lives in the north.”.

  26. SH (Posted on 2-14-2022 at 14:38) Reply

    What about geographic names that end in Centre/Center? Within the boundaries of Toronto, there’s a neighbourhood called “North York City Centre” and urban areas inside cities on the outskirts of Toronto known as “Vaughan Metropolitan Centre” (within the City of Vaughan) and “Markham Centre” (within the City of Markham). Do you think they should be preceded with “the”?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 2-14-2022 at 14:49) Reply

      It’s not really something I can offer a prescriptive answer for. We need to observe whether an article is used in general with ‘centres’ and then try to discern a rule. Personally, I don’t have enough exposure to proper nouns ending with ‘Centre’ to provide a useful answer. However, based on the list above, it seems to be that they are not followed by an article, which is generally the case for any proper noun. Therefore, it seems to conform with the regular rules of English (thankfully) and is not an exception (such as “the U.K.”)

  27. Diana (Posted on 4-3-2022 at 22:58) Reply

    The Acropolis
    The Parthenon
    Do we use -the- because they are the names of museums?
    Big Ben no article, but it can refer to landmarks too, same as The Acropolis.

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 4-4-2022 at 21:14) Reply

      Hello. As per the rule above, it does seem like ‘the’ is used for buildings, which would include the Acropolis and Parthenon. I’m not sure about Big Ben though; the building has a name of a man, which seems like personification, and that is my guess why ‘the’ is not used (because they are treating the building like a person).

  28. ELIZABETH (Posted on 8-10-2022 at 08:12) Reply

    Hello, do we use a definite article before the name of a neighborhood? Ex: I live in Constructor Neighborhood. Thanks

    1. mb (Posted on 8-10-2022 at 09:47) Reply

      Hello. In my experience, generally the names of neighbourhoods don’t have the word ‘Neighbourhood’ attached. For example: East Vancouver, New Brighton, Riverside, Highland, Avondale. For neighbourhoods like that, you would not include ‘the’. However, if you add the word ‘neighbourhood’ after the name of the neighbourhood, then you must include ‘the’, e.g. ‘the East Vancouver neighbourhood, the Riverside neighbourhood’, etc. Generally, we do not add the word ‘neighbourhood’, however, since it’s not necessary.

  29. Olena (Posted on 1-18-2023 at 04:00) Reply

    Hello, could you please provide the source of using the definite article with the word ‘region’?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 1-19-2023 at 15:47) Reply

      ‘Region’ is a regular noun, not a proper noun. When referring to a specific region, use ‘the’, e.g. ‘The plane is flying over the Atlantic region of ….’

  30. Magdalena Onuoha (Posted on 3-23-2023 at 10:14) Reply

    I tried donating as this is the best articles advice and practice I have found online, ever! your donation link is not working. Let me know how to donate pls.

    I never understood articles and in my first language we do not use articles. I am preparing for IELTS as this is one of my weakest parts of writing.

    God Bless You for Your work! (hope I have used my articles correctly in this post!) Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  31. mb Post author (Posted on 3-23-2023 at 10:28) Reply

    Helo Magdalena. I’m glad that you found the page useful. For the donations, I checked the link and it appears to work (though it takes a bit longer to load). The URL is Please let me know if it does not work, and thank you for your generosity! Good luck with IELTS.

  32. Guy (Posted on 12-16-2023 at 15:25) Reply

    This explanation unfortunately omits the answer to the question that brought me here. It was just brought to my attention that English-speakers in the UK say, “I’m going to hospital,” while English-speakers in America say, “I’m going to THE hospital.” This article covers proper noun locations pretty well, but what about more generic ones? In American English, we say “… the hospital”, “… the park”, “… the bank”, but we don’t use ‘the’ when saying things like “I’m going to school” or “I’m going to church.” Is it just a matter of what feels natural, or is there a rule to this?

    1. mb (Posted on 12-16-2023 at 15:42) Reply

      The trick around explaining these things that you’ll find is often to say that a certain phrase is a set expression/idiom/has a special meaning, and therefore doesn’t require an article. This approach works in some cases, including one you mentioned.
      1) “John goes to college. He’s in 2nd year.”
      2) “Jane goes to church. She’s a devout follower.”
      In #1, “goes to college” doesn’t really refer to a specific building, but the state of being registered at a school and attending regularly. In #2, again, it doesnt’ really refer to the building, but the state of being part of a religious community who meets regularly. This explains the lack of articles.

      Now, this doesn’t explain a kid who says to his mom, “I’m going to school. See ya later”. Here, the kid seems to be actually talking about the building/place. I have no explanation for this other than to try to use the ‘trick’ above and say that the kid means ‘I’m going to learn’ when he says he’s going to school (and isn’t referring to the actual building).

  33. Ngan Ngoc (Posted on 1-12-2024 at 20:20) Reply

    The MET Museum is located on Fifth Avenue – why does it contain contain”the” in right before the MET Museum ?

    1. mb (Posted on 1-12-2024 at 21:07) Reply

      The definite article is used before building names, e.g. The Pentagon, The Kremlin, The Louvre, etc.

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