Do you know when you need to use the in common phrases and place names? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.
Look at these examples to see when the is and isn't used.
I'm going to bed.
I walk to work.
My children are going to start school.
I visited the school yesterday.
Mount Everest is in the Himalayas.
Try this exercise to test your grammar.
- Grammar test 1
Articles 2: Grammar test 1
Here are some ways we use articles in common phrases and place names.
We don't usually use an article in expressions with bed, work and home.
go to bed / be in bed
go to work / be at work / start work / finish work
go home / be at home / get home / stay at home
We also don't normally use an article in expressions with school, university, prison and hospital.
start school / go to school / be at school
go to university / be at university
be sent to prison / go to prison / be in prison
go to hospital / be in hospital
But we usually use the if someone is just visiting the place, and not there as a student/prisoner/patient, etc.
My son has started school now. I went to the school to meet his teacher.
I went to the prison a lot when I was a social worker.
I'm at the hospital. My sister has just had a baby.
We don't normally use an article for continents, most countries, cities, towns, lakes, mountains or universities. So, we say:
Africa, Asia, Europe
India, Ghana, Peru, Denmark
Addis Ababa, Hanoi, New York, Moscow
Lake Victoria, Lake Superior, Lake Tanganyika
Mount Everest, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus
Cardiff University, Harvard University, Manchester University
Some countries are different. Country names with United have the. There are other countries which are exceptions too. So, we say:
the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States of America
the Bahamas, the Gambia
Seas and oceans, mountain ranges and rivers have the:
the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Mediterranean
the Andes, the Himalayas, the Alps
the Nile, the Amazon, the Yangtze
Universities with of in the title also have the:
the University of Cape Town, the University of Delhi, the University of Tokyo
Do this exercise to test your grammar again.
- Grammar test 2
Articles 2: Grammar test 2