An Online Catalogue of English Grammar Exercises

'a' and 'the' or nothing (O)

for Stanislav Volkov from the Ukraine

This section is practice of difficult areas to do with 'a' and 'the' and times when you don't use them. (Also see how 'some' and 'any' belong to this family of words. Also ideas under 'the').

When you use the name of a person, a place, or a planet or languages or subjects you study at school, don´t use 'the' or 'a'. Put nothing! e.g. Dante, not 'the' Dante! We all know about the existence of these things so, in English, this becomes knowledge we share and we don´t need an article.

Examples: Mercury is very close to the sun. I enjoyed learning Greek and Spanish.

Practice Exercise:
Put nothing or 'the' here.

1. has human life but the planet Mars does not.                                                       2. .........Mary likes chewing gum but .......teacher doesn´t!                                                         3. .........Buckingham Palace is......Queen´s home or one of them.                                              4. .........Yasuko and Massi are students from Japan and Iran.                                                    5. .........Brazil is larger than ...... Colombia.                                                                                 6. ..........God works in mysterious ways. (a saying!)                                                                   7. Did you find it hard to learn ....Dutch at school. Yes, very!                                                     8. I can never decide whether I prefer ....Quantas or...Pan Am. Most Airlines have good and bad points. What do you think?

Answers: 1.The (in English we talk about The Earth!)                                                               2. 0;  the                                                                                                                                 3.0;    the (we talk about The Queen, but 'Queen Elizabeth' and The King but 'King Juan Carlos')                                                                                                                                        4. O 5. O, O. 6. O 7.O 8.O!

See the A - Z of English Grammar & Usage for the rules.

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