I am not sure about the omission of article- 'the' before names of public places such as library, market, zoo. I came across this sentence:

"The spices were bought from local market"

Should I insert article 'the' before market and write it as

"The spices were bought from the local market"

Also, what is the correct expression with the word library:

At the library or at library


3 Answers 3


You must use an article in both cases that you asked about.

"There is a book signing at the library"

"The spices were bought from the local market"

but you could choose to use "a" instead if you were referring to any library or any local market

"For the best flavor get your spices from a local market"

"Visit a library sometime, and you'll love it"

Here's a decent guide to article usage. Since "library" and "local market" are considered count nouns:

  • You can put a number in front of a count noun. (You can make a count noun plural.)
  • You can put both a/an and the in front of a count noun.
  • You must put an article in front of a singular count noun.
  • You use a plural count noun with no article if you mean all or any of that thing.
  • You usually use a/an with a count noun the first time you say or write that noun.
  • You use the with count nouns: the second and subsequent times you use the noun in a piece of speech or writing when the listener knows what you are referring to (maybe because there is only one of that thing)
  • You use an (not a) when the next word (adverb, adjective, noun) starts with a vowel sound.

Its not just public places. Either the definite article (the) or one of the indefinite articles (a/an) will be used before places that are not proper names. The only exceptions, are places that are more abstract, like school or church, because someone can say "I'm going to school" or "I'm going to church" but not "I'm going to lake" or "I'm going to backyard" or "I'm going to library." Somehow church and school are exceptions, and I'm not entirely sure how to explain why.


I would say that the first sentence is incorrect, though I am not an expert in this field. Maybe the absence of definitive articles in sentence like the one above stems from signs of e.g. a local library. On the sign it would most likely say: Library. Therefore, people may think that it is okay to do this in a sentence too. In my opinion, this is not correct. But then again, I am not an expert within this field, so I might be wrong.

  • I would say that this answer is not an answer, though I am not an expert. I my opinion, the author would do well to read more about how the site is intended to work. Then again, I might be wrong. Jun 7, 2017 at 6:33

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