Hello everyone!

Have you ever wondered why some countries use the in their names? Why we don’t use articles with lakes, but we do use them with oceans and seas? Well, I’m here to answer all your questions. In this free English lesson, I will show you which countries use the, when to use articles with names, even which place have the in their names. So, hold still and prepare yourselves for another English lesson!

articles, articles with names, english grammar, learn english grammar

Let’s begin…

My name is Adriana. I’m from Melbourne, but I’m currently living in Europe, in Croatia.

As you can see, most names of people and places are without the.


  • But, some place names do have the, especially names consisting of more than one word.


  • There are two things which you need to pay attention to when deciding if a place name has the or not.

1.      The kind of place it is (e.g. a sea or a lake)

2.      The grammatical structure of the name.

o        We often use the in:

*of-phrase: the Prince of Wales

*adjective: the Royal Opera House

*plural form: the West Indies

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  •  Note that we do not usually use the before a possessive.

Alexander’s Knot

  • You can sometimes even use an article with a person’s name. Look at these examples:

Here’s the John I was telling you about. (=the person called John)

That’s a Monet, isn’t it? (=a painting by Monet)

  • Stressed the before a name can mean ‘the famous …’.

I just met Taylor Swift, the Taylor Swift!

  • You can also sometimes use a/an and the with place names which normally have no article. This usually happens when we are comparing a place to some well-known place.

Amsterdam is the Venice of the north.

There’s a Richmond in the UK. (=a place called Richmond)

The London of today is very different from the London in the 1750s. (London at different times)

Let’s go on to specific examples where the is used in place names..




Continents, countries, states

  • Continents, countries, and states have no article.

in Europe                                           in Germany

  • ·        Names of countries and states ending with republic or kingdom have the.

the United Kingdom                      the Czech Republic

  •  Plural names also have the.

the Netherlands                              the US

Cities and towns

  • Most cities, towns, suburbs, and villages are without the.

in London                                          to Paris                                                               from Berlin

  • Exceptions are The Hague and The Bronx.


  • When the name of a continent or country is modified by another word, we do not use the.

South-East Asia                                              Central America                                              South America

  • Most other regions have the.

the South                                           the Mid-West                                   the Midlands

Lakes, rivers, seas

  • Lakes are without the.

next to Lake Superior

  • We use the with the names of rivers, canals, and seas.

the Missouri (River)                       the Panama Canal                         the North Sea

the Atlantic (Ocean)                      the (River) Thames



  • Most mountains and hills are without the.

Mount Everest

  • A very few mountains have the.

the Matterhorn                                              the Eiger

  • We use the with the names of mountain ranges and hill ranges.

the Alps                                              the Andes


Roads and streets

  • Most roads, streets, and parks are without the.

Madison Avenue                            Central Park

  • Some names with adjectives have the.

the High Street                                the Botanical Gardens

  • We use the in this structure: the Oxford Road (=the road to Oxford)


  • You can also use the with some main roads in cities.

along the Fifth Avenue

  • We use the with by-passes and motorways.

the M6 (motorway)

  • Other exceptions to the general rule are The Avenue, The Mall, and The Strand.



  • Some bridges are without the.

Westminster Bridge                       near Tower Bridge

  • But there are also bridges with the

the Sydney Harbour Bridge

  •  The is used in American English

the Brooklyn Bridge

English Grammar Lesson- how to use articles with places


Stations, churches, schools, etc.

  • Most transport facilities, churches, schools, and other important buildings, as well as palaces and houses are without the.

Heathrow (Airport)                                       St Paul’s Cathedral

Buckingham Palace                                      at Oxford University

  • We use the when there is an of-phrase.

the Church of the Holy Trinity                   the University of London             the Palace of Westminster

  • We generally use the when there is an adjective or noun modifier.

the Royal Opera House                                               the White House

Theaters, hotels, etc.

  • Normally we use the.

the Hilton Hotel                                               the National Gallery

  • With theatres, cinemas, hotels, museums, galleries, and centers, we usually use the except with a possessive form.

St Martin’s (Theatre)

  • When the first of the phrase is a place name (e.g. Zagreb), we can sometimes use the phrase without the.

in Zagreb Museum

  • Some US names with center are without the.

Rockefeller Center

  • We use the with building.

the Empire State Building

Shops and restaurants

  • Most shops are without the

at Harrod’s                        in Bloomingdales

  • A restaurant can be without the if it has a possessive form

at Joey’s (Restaurant)

  • We use the with shops and restaurants when there is an adjective or noun modifier.

the Old Stakehouse

  •  Most pubs have the.

the Red Lion (Inn)

To sum up everything:

That’s it! Study these rules and you won’t have any problems with the use of articles with names. Good luck! :)

Keep learning about articles.  Read the following English lessons: