Don’t Lose Your Articles – Part Two

Uma Sastry

In spite of having the thumb rules with us, we may still be at times unsure of placing the right articles. You may wonder sometimes like Sir Henry Higgins and say, ‘Why can’t we place the articles like the way it should be?’

While the names of rivers, mountain ranges, musical instruments, inventions, famous books, family, deserts, gulfs, peninsulas and forests are mentioned with a  ‘the’ , the names of planets, countries, continents, states, languages, mountains, lakes, streets, roads, parks, stations and public buildings are mentioned without a ‘the’.

We say: The Himalayas, The Ganga, The guitar, The computer, The bible, The Tatas, The sahara, The rain forests.

But we say: Earth, India, Australia, English , Mount Fuji, Dal lake, Cunningham Road, Hyde park, Bangalore city station, Vidhana Soudha.

(Of course there are exceptions such as the US, the UK, the UAE, the Philippines, and the Netherlands)

Let us look at these contexts to see how the usages go:

  • A.R. Rahman plays the piano
  • Marconi invented the radio.
  • The computer is a revolutionary invention.
  • Save the tiger. (not ‘save tigers’)
  • Use the internet.
  • Earth is a planet.
  • The earth revolves round the sun.
  • Sugar is bad for health.
  • Please pass the sugar.

Now, try to figure out the difference between ‘earth’ and ‘the earth’, and ‘sugar’ and ‘the sugar’. Check whether it is ‘television’ or ‘the television’.

About the Author

Uma Sastry is an English language trainer. She be can reached at auma123@gmail.com.

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