Articles 2

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

Grammar explanation

Here are some ways we use articles in common phrases and place names.

Common phrases

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.

Place names

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

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

Submitted by Sayinsu on Tue, 12/07/2022 - 19:28

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Thanks in advance. I usually make mistakes inappropriately using article 'the'. How can I avoid such problem?

Hello Sayinsu,

It takes lots of practice and patience to learn to use articles in English. Even if your native language(s) has a similar system of articles, there are usually differences from one language to another which are difficult to learn. And if your native language(s) don't use articles at all, it can be very difficult.

I'd encourage you to notice articles and you read and listen. Not all the time, of course, as that would be exhausting, but if you pay attention to them, it can help a lot. It's also good to study them and do practice exercises, but in my experience as a teacher, people often don't do enough reading and so I usually recommend it over practice exercises.

The most important thing is to keep experimenting with different methods until you find one that works well for you.

We can also help you with specific questions here in the comments from time to time as well. I'd also recommend reading through other people's questions -- there is a goldmine of information in those.

Good luck!

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by tryyourbest on Tue, 24/05/2022 - 03:39

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Thanks so much the teachers for useful lesson. It's rather easy to understand.

Submitted by Tiana Truong on Mon, 23/05/2022 - 08:08

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I wonder why many articles use THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC instead of COVID 19 PANDEMIC. Could you explain it to me?
Thank you!

Hi Tiana Truong,

It's because in the phrase "the Covid-19 pandemic", the word "Covid-19" specifies which pandemic you are referring to, so it's a specific description. We can talk about other pandemics in the same way, with "the" (e.g. the bird flu pandemic).

If you remove "pandemic" from the phrase, then you should also remove "the" because "Covid-19" is a proper noun, e.g.:

  • The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the whole world.
  • Covid-19 has affected the whole world.

I hope that helps!

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ansari. on Tue, 17/05/2022 - 18:18

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Grammar skills can be develop by yourself also practice

Submitted by DeepMS on Mon, 02/05/2022 - 11:05

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Article 2
3.
The University of Nottingham is in
The United Kingdom.

So how using The next to United Kingdom is wrong here in this context ?

Hello DeepMS,

The correct answer here is 'The University of Nottingham is in the United Kingdom'. Note that the first is 'The' (with capital 'T') and the second is 'the' (with lowercase 't'). Capitalisation is important in English.

If I've not answered your question, could you please rephrase it? I wasn't sure I understood it.

Please also note that after you press Check Answers, you can press the See Answers button to see what the correct answers are.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Excuse me sir. In the lesson 'Articles 1' in 8'th sentence of second test, both of 'The' and 'the' are acceptable. If you follow a unique rule, so you should change correct answer in that lesson or this lesson.
Anyway, thanks for your lessons. They are great and easy to understand and learn.

Hello morteza.snet,

That's a good point. I've changed the answer to Articles 1, Grammar test 2, question 8 so that only 'The' is correct.

Thanks for pointing out this inconsistency.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team