Here are 5 rules about when not to use articles in English.
1 – Noun and Number together
We do not use the, a or an when we have a noun and number.
e.g. room 3, house no.9, platform 1, gate 11, page 73, chapter 6
2 – Some specific times
We do not use the, a or an with some specific times of the day, particular days, month, years or seasons.
e.g. 07:00, 13:00, January, 2001, 1984, winter, summer
See you about 7.
The twenty-first century begins in 2001.
Winter is coming soon.
3 – Times of the day
We do not use the, a or an with dawn, dusk, midday, midnight, nighttime.
We got up at dawn.
The incident took place at midnight.
I give the cows hay, and midday’s work is over.
Even at nighttime, it was not quiet and peaceful any more.
Exception 1 – Using ‘the’ with morning, afternoon and evening
We do use the with some specific times of the day, most commonly: the morning, the afternoon, the evening.
The air is fresh in the morning.
It will rain in the afternoon.
At five in the evening.
Exception 2 – With dates
With dates we do use the.
The 15th of April 2017, The 1st of December, The 31st of July 1999.
4 – Activities
We do not use the when nouns refer to activities.
They are going to school.
It’s time to eat lunch.
He likes to read books.
5 – Generalisations
We do not use the when making generalisations about groups of people or things.
Teachers must understand children.
History deals with the past.
The whole area of science.
Wine helps digest food.
***Note – When we are being specific (the opposite of general) we do use the.
I like him best of all the teachers.
The history of Rome is very interesting.
Astronomy is the science of the universe.
The food is getting cold.