How to use the Zero article in English

How to use the Zero article in English



Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.

In English, it is sometimes not necessary to put an article a,an or the in front of certain names.

(NOTE: some English teachers use the Ø symbol in their lesson to show when not to put an article)

Articles are not used in the following cases:

Talk about generalities, general truths, or give your opinion

(you will notice that all names are in the plural)

  • I hate cakes. (we’re talking about cakes in general)
  • I love music.
  • I like chocolate.
  • Planes travel faster than cars.
  • Japanese is the language spoken in Japan.
  • I think history is boring.
  • Sharks are dangerous animals.

Abstract names

  • Love is a good thing.
  • War is terrible.


  • Steel is very strong.
  • Red is my favorite color.


  • This table is made of glass.
  • This bridge is made of steel.

Meals, food and beverages

  • I have coffee for breakfast.
  • In Spain, dinner is served at 10pm.

The place, the direction

  • to go to work
  • I go to church every sunday
  • to get home
  • to be in bed
  • to go into hospital
  • from left to right
  • go to university
  • go to church

⚠️ we say: to go to the toilet

⚠️ Do not mistake:

  • She goes to school every day.  (The school as an institution, in the general sense)
  • She lives next to the school.  (a particular school)


  • I like English.
  • She can speak Japanese.


  • He plays football.
  • I like tennis.

Continents, countries, streets, mountains and lakes (singular)

  • Africa
  • I’m visiting Italy next month.
  • Lake Michigan
  • Grafton Street
  • Mount Everest

⚠️ We use the with some names of countries, rivers, islands and seas (the USA, the UK, the Netherlands, the British Isles…)

Before the titles (functions, status) followed by the person’s name

  • Doctor Parker
  • Queen Elizabeth
  • Prince William
  • King Louis XV
  • President Sarkozy

Ex: President Trump has visited a museum in Paris.

In front of the days, the months

  • Sarah goes to the swimming pool on Tuesday.
  • August is usually very hot.
  • I love Fridays.

Time and weather

  • It’s spring !
  • at night
  • Next year I’m going to Sri Lanka  (not: the next year)

⚠️but we say: in the evening 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *