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.
- 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. Example: Did you do your homework at home?
- Standard places and institutions, especially used with prepositions to, from and at are written without article when they are used in a general sense. Example: Shekhar always goes to church but his wife Babita goes to temple.
- 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.|
- Preposition to does not come before home but at and from are needed. Example:She went home late night yesterday.
- See the differences between British and 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.|
- The nouns referring to times of the day, such asnight, day, dawn, morning and eveningare used after prepositions after, at, before, by without articles. Example: Some people believe that ghosts are active at night.
- In specific references, the definite article the before these nouns can be used. Example: You are welcome to stay the night here.
- The names of seasons are used without articles in general. Example: It is very cold in winter.
- In specific situations, we use the before the names of seasons. Example:The summer, when it was raining heavily, was dangerous to walk along the banks of the rivers.
- The names of meals are written without articles. Example: I always take my breakfast at 7.
- The names of transport after by are written without articles. Example: John went to Pokhara by plane.
- If other prepositions (except by) are used before the transport nouns, articles or determiners are needed. Example: I couldn’t phone her while she was on the plane.
- The names of festivals, religions, months, days, lakes, mountains, etc. are used without articles. Example: Christmas is the greatest festival of Christians all over the world.
- Some locative names consisting of ‘proper noun + common noun descriptor’ are normally used without articles. Example: Have you ever been to Kennedy Airport?