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):
- John‘s 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.
- 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)
- 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