Grammar Reference

Zero article

Here are some rules: 

Use zero article (-) with:

  • The names of most countries, cities and continents: Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Warsaw, Beijing, Europe, Asia
  • Geographical areas in adjective phrases: I live in (-) north-west Egypt, (-) eastern France
  • The names of single mountains and lakes: Mount Kilimanjaro, Lake Titicaca
  • Exact days, months and times: on (-) Friday, in (-) March, at (-) 7 o’clock
  • Some prepositional phrases of place: at (-) home, at (-) work, in (-) bed, at (-) sea

Use the with:

  • Countries with plural names or with Republic or Kingdom in the name: The United Arab Emirates, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom
  • Geographical areas in noun phrases: I live in the north-west of Egypt, in the east
  • The names of rivers, seas, oceans and mountain ranges: The Mississippi, The Black Sea, The Atlantic, The Urals
  • Parts of the day: in the morning/afternoon/evening
  • Most prepositional phrases of position and place: at the top, on the left, at the office/bank/cinema  

Take note: school/university, etc.

There is a special rule for these places: school, university, college, hospital, prison, church. Compare these examples:

The children go to school by bus.             I go to the school to help twice a week.

Ben's studying maths at university.       He works in the canteen at the university.

She was in hospital for three weeks.       Is there a shop in the hospital

If someone is at the place because they are a student / are sick / a prisoner, etc, we don't use the. If they are there for another reason, or we are talking about the building, we use the.

For more information about articles, try this grammar reference.

Pronunciation Tips

Pronouncing the 'th' sound

Lightly place your fingers on your throat so you can feel when you pronounce a voiced sound.

Learn the symbols that represent the sounds of English.