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Grammar and Idioms For Young People

English Grammar

Articles: A, An, The and When NOT to Use Them

Language is always in use. The grammar comes second. We try to explain what is already there.
The list below shows times when we do not use articles and some exceptions.

No article (no “a,” “an,” or “the”)




With names of diseases.

She tested as a carrier of Tuberculosis.

Cancer is a life-threatening disease.

Use “the” with “measles” and “mumps.” Use “a” with colds and “the” or “a” with the flu.

Many people catch the measles.

I caught a cold last week.

I can’t go. I have a cold.

I think I have the flu.

Names of individual lakes, mountains, islands or canyons, stadiums, malls or parks.

We went to Crater Lake in Oregon.

He is at Husky Stadium watching a game.

Let’s meet at Discovery Park.




Streets, boulevards, lanes, roads or avenues

I live on 23rd Avenue.



Before “north,” “south,” “east” or “west” if the word follows a verb.

She’s driving north right now.

They live south of here.

After a preposition (to, in, at …) use “the” before “north,” “south,” “east” or “west” 

She is driving to the northeast part of town.

He lives in the north.

Names of universities or colleges.

He went to Boston University.

Use “the” if “of” is in the name of the university or college.


He attended the University of Virginia.

She is working for the College of Fine Arts.

Names of countries, cities or states

My nephew is from China.

Use “the” if “united,” “union,” “republic” is in the name or if the word “of” is in it.

He was born in the United Kingdom. Now he is working  in the U.S.

With ordinal numbers (first, second …), “next” or “last” when there is a list.

When making bread, first make sure you have good ingredients.

Use “the” with ordinal numbers (first, second …) and “next” and “last” when they are adjectives.

She was the second person in town that I met.

Names of languages.

They speak Spanish at home.

Use “the” when the language name is an adjective.

Many people in the U.S. speak the Spanish language.

With “next” or “last” when there are specific times

We’ll see you during the holidays next year.



With the words “few” or little” if the meaning is negative.

Sorry. I have little time.


Use “a” with “few” or “little” if the meaning is positive or with the words “only” or “just.”

I can help you. I have a few ideas.

Sorry. I only have a few ideas.

With common “go” expressions.

She goes to bed at 10pm.

They go to class every day.

He goes to church most of the time.



Now learn When You DO Use Articles. Remember these rules are details. First, be sure you know The Basics about using A, An and The.

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