John’s English Blog

I’m John, an English language teacher. Welcome to my blog.

Definite and indefinite articles

Articles, more about "the"


In the previous blog post I explained some uses of the (the definite article). In this blog post we’ll look at some more uses of the.


Here we use the name of the language to say which language. You know which language I mean so we use the.

  1. The English language is international.
  2. Cases are an important part of the German language.
  3. The Russian language does not have articles.

When we use the name of the language on it’s own it doesn’t take the.

  1. English is my native language.
  2. In Standard Chinese the difference between “mother” and “horse” is in the tone.
  3. Hungarian has 20 cases. 😮

rivers, mountain ranges, groups of islands, seas and oceans

Rivers, mountain ranges, groups of island, seas and oceans take the.

  1. Captain Matthew Webb was the first man to swim the English Channel.
  2. Davina goes skiing in the Alps every February.
  3. The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race takes place every year on The Thames.
  4. Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands.
  5. The Turkish Straits connect the Black Sea with the Aegean Sea.
  6. Monet painted showed a misty London in his painting of The Thames.

Individual mountains and lakes don’t take the, except for mountains translated from European languages unless the name starts with le mont, la montaña, il monte etc.

  1. Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay were the first two people to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
  2. Ben Nevis is the tallest mountain in Scotland.
  3. Some people believe that a monster lives in Loch.
  4. The Matterhorn is the deadliest mountain in the Alps.
  5. Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps.

newspapers, comics, magazines

Newspapers and comics often take the.

  1. The Times newspaper began in 1785.
  2. He reads The Guardian on the train every day.
  3. The Beano was my favourite comic.
  4. I was never as keen on The Dandy.

Magazines however usually don’t take the.

  1. Cosmopolitan is a popular women’s magazine.
  2. Good Housekeeping features recipes in every edition.
  3. Hello magazine contains many photos of celebrities.

famous buildings, monuments, works of art

  1. The tourists in The Louvre in Paris stared at The Mona Lisa.
  2. The Palace of Westminster is more commonly known as The Houses of Parliament.
  3. The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum in India.
  4. The Monument, is a Doric column in the City of London, near the northern end of London Bridge, that commemorates the Great Fire of London.

pubs, restaurants and hotels

The names of pubs, restaurants and hotels take the.

  1. I often met my friend in The Red Lion in Kingly Street.
  2. The first pub I bought a drink in was The Orange Tree.
  3. The Shakespeare in Victoria used to be quite shabby.
  4. Lamb’s Conduit is near the British Museum and has a very pretty pub called The Lamb.
  5. The Ritz is too expensive for most visitors to London.

Names formed from possessives don’t take the.

  1. I ate afternoon tea at Brown’s in Cambridge.
  2. MacDonalds is famous for hamburgers.
  3. Claridge’s is a luxury hotel in the heart of Mayfair.

other determiners

We don’t combine the with other possessives or demonstratives.

  1. This is my blog.
  2. Alice has moved into her new flat.
  3. I love this song.
  4. Did you see that dog?
  5. Your eyes are bigger than your stomach.
  6. This time it will be different.


Back to the article

  1. Do you like speaking English?
  2. The Carpathians are home to brown bears, wolves, chamois and lynxes.
  3. The English language doesn’t have an academy to guide it.
  4. I don’t read Cosmopolitan, but sometimes I look at the recipes.
  5. French’s in Wells-next-the-Sea makes excellent fish and chips.
  6. The most popular newspaper in the UK is The Sun.
  7. The Fox is a quite place for a drink on a Saturday.
  8. OK! magazine has many photos of celebrities.
  9. Greggs is famous for their sausage rolls.
  10. The Zugspitze is the highest mountain in Germany.
  11. The Times is famous for its crossword.
  12. Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales.
  13. The Salisbury in Harringay is an impressive pub.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you have any comments, questions or corrections please write them below.

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