Articles with Geographical Names

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4.Articles with Geographical Names (2)
1. Introduction in the course Course syllabus 2020 07 08 10 49 33 485

Articles with Geographical Names

  • There are some specific rules for using the with geographical nouns.
  • Do not use the before:
  • names of most countries/territories: Italy, Mexico, Bolivia; however, the Netherlands, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, the United States
  • names of cities, towns, or states: Seoul, Manitoba, Miami
  • names of streets: Washington Blvd., Main St.
  • names of lakes and bays: Lake Titicaca, Lake Erie except with a group of lakes like the Great Lakes
  • names of mountains: Mount Everest, Mount Fuji except with ranges of mountains like the Andes or the Rockies or unusual names like the Matterhorn
  • names of continents (Asia, Europe)
  • names of islands (Easter Island, Maui, Key West) except with island chains like the Aleutians, the Hebrides, or the Canary Islands
  • Do use the before:
  • names of rivers, oceans and seas: the Nile, the Pacific
  • points on the globe: the Equator, the North Pole
  • geographical areas: the Middle East, the West
  • deserts, forests, gulfs, and peninsulas: the Sahara, the Persian Gulf, the Black Forest, the Iberian Peninsula

The use of articles with proper nouns

Geographical names

No article

The definite article


1. Continents, countries, cities/towns, villages

Africa, Asia, France, London, Latin America, Central Asia, Petrovka


the village of Petrovka

When having a particularizing attribute

– The Philadelphia he was born in...

– In his books W. Scott described the England of the Middle Ages.

the word groups are always used with the:

The United States, The Soviet Union, The United Kingdom of Great Britain, the Hague, (the) Ukraine, the Crimea, the Caucasus, the Riviera, the Transvaal, the Lebanon, the Congo, the Vatican (City)

2. Ocean, rivers, seas, Channels / canals, deserts, valleys

Hudson Bay, Buffin Bay, Death Valley, Silicon Valley

the Pacific, the Black Sea, the Neva, the Sahara, the (English) Channel, the Suez Canal, the Nile Valley, the Valley of the Kings

1) Geographical names

3. Lakes

Lake Baikal, Lake Ontario

the Baikal, the Ontario, the Great Lake, the Great Bear Lake, the Great Salt Lake, the Lake District

In the plural – The Great Lakes

4. Mountains, volcanoes


Elbrus, Everest

mountain chains

the Urals, the Alps, the Kilauea Volcano

5. Islands, peninsulas, capes

a single island

Madagascar, Sicily, Kamchatka, Cape Horn, North Cape, Cape Canaveral,

island groups

the Bermudas, the British Isles, the Bahamas, the Balkan Peninsula, the Cape of Good Hope

6. Regions

North America, Latin America

the Middle East, the Far East, the north of England, the south of France, the Virgin Lands, the Yorkshire Forests

western Canada, southern Spain

7. Four cardinal points of the compass

the South, the North, the East, the West


from East to West, from North to South

go to South!

Do not use the before the names of

  • continents (North America, Asia, Africa)
  • mountains (Mount Rushmore, Mount Everest)
  • islands (Saint Lucia, Antigua, Grenada)
  • streets (Broad Street, Wilson Avenue)
  • cities and towns (Birmingham, Seattle, Las Vegas)
  • states (Alabama, Washington, Nevada)
  • lakes (Lake Erie, Lake Kissimmee, Lake Rabun)

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