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Acerca de

Citrus Fruits

Nouns 2

Special omissions of 'the'

In some situations, "the" is not normally used before certain nouns.


1. Names of meals

We do not normally use "the" with names of meals (breakfast, lunch, supper, etc.)


  • What do you want for breakfast?

  • We usually have dinner at 7 pm.

If there is an adjective before the name of the meal, we use "a/an":

  • I had a very nice breakfast.

But we use "the" when we give extra information about a particular meal:

  • The breakfast that you made this morning was excellent.​



2. School, hospital, church, prison, university


  • Zeynep goes to school every day.

  • This morning, Zeynep's mother went to the school to see her daughter's English teacher.

We do not use "the" before school when we are thinking of the idea or use of school (i.e. a place for learning). When we are thinking of a particular school (e.g. Fiona's school), we use "the": 


We can also say:

  • Zeynep's daughter is at school. (= as a pupil)

  • Zeynep's mother is at the school. (= as a visitor)

We talk about hospitals, churches, prisons, and universities in the same way:

  • Begüm is very ill. She is in hospital right now. (as a patient)

  • Her husband is going to the hospital to visit her. (as a visitor in a particular hospital)

  • Ayla goes to church every Sunday. (for a religious service)

  • Last week, there was a small fire at the church. (the building)

3. Noun + number
We do not use "the" before a noun + number:

  • Turn to page 24.

  • Anne is staying in Room 23.

  • The next train to Madrid leaves from Platform 3.

4. Other expressions

We do not use "the" in the following expressions:

  • I feel very tired now. I'm going to bed. (to sleep)

  • BUT: I found my grammar book under the bed. (a particular piece of furniture)


  • I'm going home now.

  • Tomris is not at home right now.

  • What time do you start work? (your job)

  • BUT: The work you did for me was excellent. (a particular piece of work)


  • After dinner, I'm going home. I must go to bed.

  • Why so early?

  • Well, I have to get up for work tomorrow morning. And after that, I'm going to visit my grandmother. She is in hospital.

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