In Articles 1 we looked at the 3 golden rules of articles:

  1. People’s jobs have a/an. He’s an architect.
  2. Singular countable nouns have an article. That’s the woman I met last week.
  3. Things in general – no article. Cats like mice.


Here we look at some other rules for the use of articles.

Special places

  • My son’s at university but my daughter still goes to school.
  • He was sent to prison for 10 years.
  • Now that winter’s here I find it difficult to get out of bed.
  • I go to work by bus but I go home on foot.

In expressions with a number of places there is no article after a preposition.

These places include: to/at school, to/at university/college, to/in church, to/in/out of prison, to/in hospital, to/in/out of bed, to/at work, at home.

NOTE: While we say ‘go to school’ and ‘go to work’ etc, the expression ‘go home’ has neither ‘the’ nor ‘to’.

Transport

  • I go to work by bus but I go home on foot.
  • I hate travelling by train.

Modes of transport (by bus, by train, by car, by plane, by bicycle) don’t have an article. Notice that on foot is different.

Geography

No article – continents (Africa, Asia etc.) countries (France, Germany, Slovakia etc - but the Slovak Republic, the United States, the United Kingdom) towns & cities (Bratislava, London etc.) lakes (Lake Victoria, Lake Balaton etc.) universities (Oxford University, Nitra University etc.)

With ‘the’ – seas & oceans (the Atlantic, the Mediterranean etc.) mountain ranges (the Himalayas, the Tatras) rivers (the Amazon, the Danube etc.)

Other expressions

  • I don’t watch television very often but I listen to the radio all the time.
  • I’ve got a headache.
  • I’ve got a stomach-ache
  • I’ve got a cold.

BUT

  • I’ve got ‘flu.
  • I’ve got earache.
  • I’ve got toothache.

Other illnesses have no article.

Exercise

Tags