Usage of the Articles with Geographical Names

What is the purpose of the use of the articles when it comes to the objects of geography? Are there any specific requirements when you write about countries, streets or squares, rivers or seas? Believe it or not, it is definitely worth considering the following tips, if you are willing to write on geographical topics, since there are not only rules but also exceptions. Let’s get the ball rolling.


Take into account that you should use the article with the names of the countries if there are such terms as a kingdom, a republic, an alliance, states, etc.. Therefore, we use the definite article when we talk about the USA, the UK, the UAE, the USSR, the GDR, etc.

I have been travelling across the USA for more than 2 months.

Another case when you need to use an article is with a plural noun. So, if the name of the country is in plural, do not forget to write the article, like in the Netherlands, the Seychelles, or the Philippines.

I’m planning to stay in the Maldives for two weeks. Undoubtedly, it will be the time of my life.

At the same time, there is a small African country, which is not in plural, but it needs an article. Make sure that you remember the Gambia, the country that is written with the article without any particular reason.


It is really easy to remember that you don’t need the article with cities. You only have to keep in mind the Hague, the exception. However, if you do not plan to use the name of this city very often, it is not obligatory to remember it.

It was the third time I’ve been to Brussels, but still it charmed me again.

There is one addition to the rule of using the article with cities. If you say "the city of", the article is always needed, for instance, the city of London, the city of Prague, the city of Paris, etc.

The city of New York always welcomes its visitors with its breathtaking views, delicious food, and amazing night life.

Oceans, Seas and Rivers

The majority of geographical objects that are associated with water never go without the article. Regardless of whether it is the ocean or the river, you should use the article. Bays and canals are also among these water objects that need the article, for example, the Panama Canal.

Travelling across the Pacific Ocean was my most outstanding experience I have ever had.

The only exception with water objects is when it comes to lakes. In this case, no article is needed, like in Lake Baikal. At the same time, you should use the article with the desert, even though there is no water there. So, it is highly recommended to write down all the exception or have them in plain view. But if your job is not related to the correct usage of the articles, open the Wikipedia in order to double check the use of the article with this or that geographical name.


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