EXCEPTIONS TO USING THE DEFINITE ARTICLE

There is no article:

with names of countries (if singular)

  • Germany is an important economic power.
  • He’s just returned from Zimbabwe.
    (But: I’m visiting the United States next week.)

with the names of languages

  • French is spoken in Tahiti.
  • English uses many words of Latin origin.
  • Indonesian is a relatively new language.

with the names of meals.

  • Lunch is at midday.
  • Dinner is in the evening.
  • Breakfast is the first meal of the day.

with people’s names (if singular):

  • Johns coming to the party.
  • George King is my uncle.
  • (But: we’re having lunch with the Morgans tomorrow.)

with titles and names:

  • Prince Charles is Queen Elizabeth’s son.
  • President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.
  • Dr. Watson was Sherlock Holmes’ friend.
  • (But: the Queen of England, the Pope.)

After the ‘s possessive case:

  • His brother’s car
  • Peter’s house.

with professions

  • Engineering is a useful career.
  • He’ll probably go into medicine.

with names of shops

  • I’ll get the card at Smith’s.
  • Can you go to Boots for me?
  • (Unless is part of the name – e.g. The Body Shop)

with years:

  • 1948 was a wonderful year.
  • Do you remember 1995?

With uncountable nouns:

  • Rice is the main food in Asia.
  • Milk is often added to tea in England.
  • War is destructive.

with the names of individual mountains, lakes and islands:

  • Mount McKinley is the highest mountain in Alaska.
  • She lives near Lake Windermere.
  • Have you visited Long Island?

with most names of towns, streets, stations and airports:

  • Victoria Station is in the centre of London.
  • Can you direct me to Bond Street?
  • She lives in Florence.
  • They’re flying from Heathrow.

in some fixed expressions, for example:

  • by car
  • by train
  • by air
  • on foot
  • on holiday
  • on air (in broadcasting)
  • at school
  • at work
  • at University
  • in church
  • in prison
  • in bed

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