Nouns Used Without Articles

Proper nouns in principle are written without article. In addition to them, there are other nouns in English which are used in the syntactic structure without articles. 

1. Many countable nouns behave like proper nouns without capitals. These are especial environments which are known to the speaker and the hearer for certain typical activities.

Examples:

  • Did you do your homework at home?
  • Is Mom not back from work yet?
  • They go to school to learn English.

2. Standard places and institutions, especially used with prepositions to, from and at are written without article when they are used in a general sense.

Examples:

  • Shekhar always goes to church but his wife Babita goes to temple.
  • She has learnt much at school.
  • He is still in bed.

3. We use articles with these nouns only in specific references. Examples:

No Article

With an Article

      1. She goes to university to learn French.

    1. The university where she studied is famous.

      2. She never liked school.

    2. He went to a private school.

      3. Anita was taken to prison.

    3. The prison where Mandela was kept was good.

4. Preposition to does not come before home but at and from are needed.

Examples:

  • She went home late night yesterday.
  • Today she is at home now.
  • We are only a few miles away from home.

5. See the differences between British and American English.

British English

American English

    1. I am at home now.

    1. I am home now.

    2. My children are at school now.

    2. My children are in school now.

6. The nouns referring to times of the day, such as night, day, dawn, morning and evening are used after prepositions after, at, before, by without articles.

Examples:

  • Some people believe that ghosts are active at night.
  • Some creatures emerge from their burrows after dark.
  • It seems to be funny sleeping by day.

7. In specific references, the definite article the before these nouns can be used.

Examples:

  • You are welcome to stay the night here.
  • I couldn’t get to sleep because there was a thunderstorm during the whole night yesterday.
  • What do you usually do in the evening?

8. The names of seasons are used without articles in general.

Examples:

  • It is very cold in winter.
  • Farmers sow the seeds of crops in spring.
  • Summer is hotter than autumn.

9. In specific situations, we use the before the names of seasons.

Examples:

  • The summer, when it was raining heavily, was dangerous to walk along the banks of the rivers.
  • They got admitted to that university in the winter.

10, The names of meals are written without articles.

Examples:

  • I always take my breakfast at 7.
  • Our program begins after lunch.
  • When do you take supper everyday?

11. The names of transport after by are written without articles.

Examples:

  • John went to Pokhara by plane.
  • All the motorbikes have been transported by train.
  • Do you want to travel by bus?

12. If other prepositions (except by) are used before the transport nouns, articles or determiners are needed.

Examples:

  • I couldn’t phone her while she was on the plane.
  • She came here on the bus.
  • Jane was in a car.
  • Harry came here by bus (no article).

13. The names of festivals, religions, months, days, lakes, mountains, etc. are used without articles.

Examples:

  • Christmas is the greatest festival of Christians all over the world.
  • January falls before February.
  • Tuesday comes after Sunday.

14. Some locative names consisting of ‘proper noun + common noun descriptor’ are normally used without articles.

Examples:

  • Have you ever been to Kennedy Airport?
  • We watched the town from Westminister Bridge.

There are some exceptions such as:

  • The Albert Hall
  • The Mansion House