Definite Article or Zero Article: World Geography & Landmarks (English / ESL English Video)

Definite Article or Zero Article: World Geography & Landmarks (English / ESL Video)

Synopsis of English / ESL Video

Compare definite article and zero article (no article) while learning about world geography and discovering famous landmarks. (Upper-intermediate level)

Title of English / ESL Video

World Geography and Landmarks

Target Grammar

English Articles

Student Proficiency Level

Upper-intermediate level grammar

Suggested Courses

General English and English for Hotel and Tourism.


– Play the video in class after delivering a warm-up activity first.
– Pause the video whenever the narrator asks students a question to give students time to answer. For example, after elicitations and concept checking questions (CCQs).

Summary of English Grammar: Definite Article or Zero Article

Approximate chronological order:

We use the for:

– oceans, seas, gulfs, reefs and lagoons: This is the border of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
– rivers and canals: The Amphawa canal is one of the most famous canals in Thailand with its famous floating market.
– island groups (multiple islands): The Whitsundays is the largest group of offshore islands in Australia.
– mountain ranges (multiple mountains): The Rainbow Mountains in China are multi-coloured as the result of geological formation of the minerals in the rocks.
– deserts: The Antarctic Desert is the largest desert in the world.
– countries which are republics or unions: The United Kingdom of Great Britain is actually comprised of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
– kingdoms, empires and dynasties: During the 13th and 14th centuries, the Mongolian Empire ruled the largest contiguous land empire in history.
– places in town such as “the cinema”, “the library” and “the supermarket”: Hanns Scharff was the most successful interrogator in World War 2. Instead of torturing his prisoners, he took them to the cinema on camp and had lunch with them at the cafeteria.
– the names of theatres, hotels, galleries, museums and gardens: The Hotel President Wilson in Switzerland is the world’s most expensive hotel.
– motorways, highways and number roads: The world’s longest traffic jam lasted 10 days on the China National Highway 110 in 2010.

We don’t use articles for:

– lakes, ponds, coves, bays and creeks: Lake Hillier is a pink coloured lake.
– islands (one island): Koh Tachai is considered to be the most beautiful island in Thailand. Compare with:
– It’s located in the Similan Islands. (We use the, because it’s a group of islands.)
– mountains (one mountain), peaks and hills: Mount Everest is the highest mountain on Earth and it’s located in the Himalayas. However, the tallest mountain is actually Mauna Kea in Hawaii, USA.
– most countries: Saudi Arabia imports sand and camels from Australia.
– exceptions for countries: ends with “lands”, “islands” or “isles”.
– Example 1: The Netherlands is the second largest beer exporting country in the world.
– Example 2: Heineken is from Netherlands and it’s the third largest beer brewing company in the world. (Sometimes not using the is still acceptable.)
– short names for countries which are republics or unions:
– Example: In 2010, a Nigerian couple living in the UK, gave birth to a blonde white baby with blue eyes.
– Or: In 2010, a Nigerian couple living in Britain, gave birth to a blonde white baby with blue eyes.
– states, provinces, counties, cities, towns and villages: Yellow is the easiest colour to see from a distance. This is why taxis in New York are yellow.
– continents: Africa, Asia and Europe are three separate continents, but they’re actually connected by land. The same goes for North America and South America.
– regions ending with the name of a country or continent:
– Example 1: Singapore is the most expensive country in South East Asia.
– Example 2: The same car would cost you only $20,000 in North America.
– the names of cinemas, shops, restaurants, parks and bridges: One of the most amazing parks is Central Park in New York City.
– roads, streets and suburbs: Lombard Street is very steep and too dangerous to drive on.


– use the definite article or zero article (no article): if the nationality can be changed into plural form:
– use the definite article: if the nationality cannot be changed into plural form.
Thais were formerly known as the Siamese.


– zero article (no article): when we talk about the institution and its normal use: According to the Guinness World Records, the world’s longest incarceration sentence was given to a woman in Thailand. She was sentenced to 141,078 years in prison in 1989.
– use articles: when we talk about the building of the institution: City Montessori School is the largest school in the world. It’s a private school that caters to over 52,000 pupils in India.

Summary of grammar

*** English / ESL Video: No Music Version ***


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