When Not to Use THE

1. Do not use the with names of countries

• China is an important economic power.

• He’s just returned from Indonesia.

Except when they indicate multiple areas, or contain the words united/union, kingdom, states, or republic.

Examples:

the UK (United Kingdom), the US (United States), the Irish Republic, the Philippines.

 

2. Do not use the with the names of languages.

• Portuguese is spoken in Brazil.

• English uses many words of Latin origin.

• Indonesian is a relatively new language.

 

3. Do not use the with the names of meals.

• Breakfast is an important meal of the day.

• I like to eat breakfast early.

 

4. Do not use the with people’s names.

• Julie is coming over tonight.

• Michelle is my sister.

 

5. Do not use the with titles when combined with names.

• Prince Charles is Queen Elizabeth’s son.

• President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

 

6. Do not use the after the ‘s possessive case

• His brother’s car was stolen.

• Peter’s house is over there.

 

7. Do not use the with professions

• Engineering is a well-paid career.

• He’ll probably study law.

 

8. Do not use the with names of shops

• I’ll get the card at Smith’s.

• We went to Harrods yesterday.

 

9. Do not use the with years

• 1980 was a wonderful year.

• My son was born in 1995.

 

10. Do not use the with uncountable nouns

• Rice is the staple food in Asia.

• Milk is often added to tea in England.

 

11. Do not use the with the names of individual mountains, lakes and islands

• Mount McKinley is the highest mountain in Alaska.

• Have you visited Staten Island?

 

12. Do not use the with most names of towns, streets, stations and airports

• Gambir Station is in the centre of Jakarta.

• She lives in Missouri.

• They’re flying into JFK Airport.

Now try this exercise. Fill in the blanks with the or zero article.

Hi John,

I arrived in [1]____ USA last Monday. We left [2]____ Rome, flew over [3]____ Alps and made a quick stop in [4]____ London. There we went shopping at [5]____ Harrods, visited [6]____ Tower and enjoyed a sunny afternoon in [7]____ Hyde Park. On the following day we left for [8]____ New York. [9]____ time on board wasn’t boring as there were two films to watch on [10]____ monitor. [11]____ people on [12]____ plane were all [13]____ Italian. Before we landed at [14]____ JFK airport, we saw [15]____ Statue of Liberty, [16]____ Ellis Island and [17]____ Empire State Building. [18]____ hotel I stayed in was on [19]____ corner of [20]____ 42nd Street and [21]____ 5th Avenue. I don’t like [22]____ hotels very much, but I didn’t have [23]____ time to rent an apartment.

Yours,

Demi

 

Answer:

Hi John,

I arrived in [1] the USA last Monday. We left [2] x Rome, flew over [3] the Alps and made a quick stop in [4] x London. There we went shopping at [5] x Harrods, visited [6] the Tower and enjoyed a sunny afternoon in [7] x Hyde Park. On the following day we left for [8] x New York. [9] The time on board wasn’t boring as there were two films to watch on [10] the monitor. [11] The people on [12] the plane were all [13] x Italian. Before we landed at [14] x JFK airport, we saw [15] the Statue of Liberty, [16] x Ellis Island and [17] the Empire State Building. [18] The hotel I stayed in was on [19] the corner of [20] x 42nd Street and [21] x 5th Avenue. I don’t like [22] x hotels very much, but I didn’t have [23] x time to rent an apartment.

Yours,
Demi

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