With uncountable nouns
Articles are not used with uncountable nouns when we make general statements.
- I love coffee. (NOT… a coffee OR the coffee)
- Milk is rich in nutrients. (NOT The milk OR a milk)
- We can’t do without water. (NOT The water OR a water)
- She likes reading books. (NOT…the reading books OR a reading books)
With the names of countries
We do not use articles with the names of countries.
- Japan is a developed nation. (NOT The Japan)
- I have been to England. (NOT…to the England)
- India is a secular republic. (NOT The India)
- He has just returned from South Africa. (NOT …the South Africa)
But we use ‘the’ if the name of the country or organization specifically states that it is a collection of states. (For example, The United States, The United Arab Emirates, The United Nations etc.)
- He is leaving for the United States tomorrow.
- The United Nations is an international organization of countries created to promote world peace and cooperation.
With the names of languages
We do not use articles with the names of languages.
- Hindi is the national language of India.
- It is not easy to learn French.
- English is spoken in many parts of the world.
With the names of meals
We do not use articles with the names of meals.
- We have lunch at midday. (NOT…the lunch)
- We have dinner in the evening. (NOT…the dinner)
- Breakfast is the first meal of the day. (NOT…the breakfast)
With proper nouns
We do not use articles with proper nouns (the names of people, places etc.)
- Alice is an architect. (NOT The Alice or a Alice)
- Mary is my friend. (NOT The Mary)
- Delhi is the capital of India.
But we use ‘the’ with plural names.
- We are having dinner with the Smiths.
- The Sharmas are very kind.
With titles and names
We do not use articles with titles and names.
- Princess Diana was killed in a car accident.
- President Kennedy was assassinated.
But we say, the queen of England, the President of USA
We do not use articles before years.
- India won freedom in 1947. (NOT…in the 1947)
- I was born in 1979.
With possessives and demonstratives
- This is my book. (NOT This is a my book.)
- I like this car. (NOT I like the this car.)
Articles are not used to talk about the coming or last day/month.
- See you on Friday. (=Coming Friday)
- We are leaving for the US next week. (NOT …the next week.)
But we use articles with the names of days of the week and months if we are talking about particular days or months.
- We met on a rainy Friday.
- It was a wet Monday in May.
- She died on the Thursday after the accident.