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Using English Articles (#10), by Dennis Oliver


Using English Articles (#10)


Because the English articles (a, an, the) are often very
challenging for learners of the language, the next several
Hints will provide guidelines on their usage.


The Definite Article The (#8)


Here are more common uses for the definite article the.


before names of political / government
units followed by of and a name:

He's from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Where is the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg?

The Principality of Monaco is near
both France and Italy.

I've never visited the Sultanate of Oman.

He's a citizen of the U.S. (the United States
of America).


before general names for academic or
educational institutions followed by
of and an identifying name:

He's studying at the University of Arizona.

He's a counselor for the College of
Liberal Arts.

Where are the offices for the School of
Social Work?

What's the address of the California State
Department of Education?


before names of large bodies of water
(seas, oceans, gulfs, straits, groups of
lakes, etc.):

One of California's borders is with
the Pacific Ocean.

How large is the South China Sea?

Which is correct--the Persian Gulf or
the Gulf of Arabia?

How many people have swum across
the English Channel?

Do you know where the Strait of Belle Isle
is located?

Which U.S. state has borders with two of
the Great Lakes?


before names of mountain ranges:

Have you seen the Rocky Mountains?

Bob went skiing in the Swiss Alps.

Where are the Atlas Mountains located?

Machu Pichu is located in the Andes, isn't it?


before earth, moon, and sun when they
are not capitalized:

We must learn to take better care of the earth.

Is the moon full tonight?

How far is the earth from the sun?


before specific names of ships or planes:

Lindbergh flew The Spirit of St. Louis.

How many people sailed on The Titanic?

Was Jason's ship called The Golden Fleece?

Have you heard of a plane called
The Spruce Goose?


Special Notes:


Do not use the when the name of a country
is only one word.

not this:

  *She's from the Peru.

but this:

  She's from Peru.


Do not use the when a specific name is
used before a general type of academic /
educational institution:

not this:

  *His brother is a professor at
the Harvard University.

but this:

  His brother is a professor at
Harvard University.

not this:

  *Isn't your boyfriend attending
the Glendale Community College?

but this:

  Isn't your boyfriend attending
Glendale Community College?


Do not use the when a single lake uses
Lake as part of its name:

not this:

  *The Crater Lake is a famous
tourist attraction in Oregon.

but this:

  Crater Lake is a famous
tourist attraction in Oregon.

not this:

  *The Lake Titicaca is in both
Peru and Bolivia.

but this:

  Lake Titicaca is in both
Peru and Bolivia.


Do not use the with Mt. (Mount) for the
name of a single mountain:

not this:

  *In what country is the
Mt. Kilimanjaro located?

but this:

  In what country is
Mt. Kilimanjaro located?

not this:

  *Sir Edmund Hillary is famous
for climbing the Mt. Everest.

but this:

  Sir Edmund Hillary is famous
for climbing Mt. Everest.


Do not use the for the names of planets.
When "earth" is used as the name of a planet,
use a capital letter and do not use the:

not this:

  *The Jupiter is a very large planet.

but this:

  Jupiter is a very large planet.

not this:

  *How far is it from the Earth
to the moon?

but this:

  How far is it from Earth
to the moon?

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