Articles with Geographical Names

Perfect English Grammar

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We generally use either 'the' or 'no article' with geographical names in English. There isn't a lot of logic! We just need to learn if we need 'the' or 'no article' for each kind of place.

We use 'no article' with:
  • Lakes: We visited Lake Geneva.
  • Mountains: I saw Mount Fuji from the aeroplane.
  • Continents: She loves living in Asia.
  • Most countries: She travelled to Chile last year. (But: The USA / the United States, the Netherlands, the Philippines, the United Kingdom / the UK.)
  • Counties, states, provinces, regions: They live in California.
  • Cities, towns, villages: He stayed in Paris for a week last year.
  • Islands: Bali is popular with Australian tourists.
We use 'the' with:
  • Rivers: The River Nile flows through Egypt.
  • Mountain ranges: We ski in the Alps every year.
  • Deserts: She travelled across the Sahara.
  • Oceans and seas: We sailed around the Mediterranean.
  • Groups of islands: They went to the Canary Islands.
Try an exercise about articles with geographical names here.
Try another exercise here.
Go to the main 'a' and 'the' page here.