THE USE OF ARTICLES WITH NAMES
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!
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
Keep reading and learn MORE TIPS TO IMPROVE your English Grammar.
Note that we do not usually use the before a possessive.
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..
PLACE NAMES AND THE
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.
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
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.
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.