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When Should You Omit Articles in English? 5 Rules

As we have learnt last week (article here), there are three articles in English: a, an, and the.

But should these articles be used with each noun in every sentence? The answer is no!

In fact, it is sometimes better to include no article at all, and there are rules regarding when to leave them out.
Don’t add an article before:

1. Proper Nouns

For names of people, businesses, cities, countries, etc., there is no need for “the”.

Incorrect: Are there direct flights to the Dubai?
✅ Correct: Are there direct flights to Dubai?

Incorrect: The George Washington was America’s first president.

✅ Correct: George Washington was America’s first president.

2. Abstract Nouns

An abstract noun is an idea, emotion, or quality.

They differ from concrete nouns in that they can’t be seen or touched. Examples: love, justice, glory…

Incorrect: The happiness is a pleasant feeling.

✅ Correct: Happiness is a pleasant feeling.

3. Languages & Subjects

Names of languages are proper nouns, and academic subjects do not receive articles because they are abstract.

Incorrect: Do you know how to speak a Spanish?

✅ Correct: Do you know how to speak Spanish?

Incorrect: The physics deals with equations.

✅ Correct: Physics deals with equations.

4. Months & Seasons

This is just like the rule above. Months are proper nouns, while seasons are abstract.

Incorrect: A summer starts in the June every year.

✅ Correct: Summer starts in June every year.

5. Meals & Mealtimes

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner don’t take “a” or “the” in most cases. The same goes for lunchtime and dinnertime.

Incorrect: Let’s meet up for a lunch this weekend.

✅ Correct: Let’s meet up for lunch this weekend.

Incorrect: Ice cream is best eaten after the dinnertime!

✅ Correct: Ice cream is best eaten after dinnertime!

Is everything clear? Let us know!

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