Using articles can be confusing sometimes, so when we say "the North pole" it takes the definite article "the " unlike for example "North America" here "the " is omitted, plz I would like to know why ?

  • 1
    What have you found when you researched in order to find an answer to your query?
    – fev
    Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 17:22
  • You will be told many rules for use of the, but there is no single rule that always works. Articles and other little words like prepositions are just pieces of the machinery, and their uses have to be learned individually. Think of them as chunks of some idiom, like the North Pole or on the whole or what the hell. Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 18:32
  • "the" is used with most features of the global coordinate system: the Poles, the Equator, the Tropics, the Prime Meridian, the 42nd Parallel. It's used with some other geographical entities (mountain ranges, seas and oceans, deserts, rivers, some regions) but not others (continents, countries, individual mountains, lakes, cities). There are other questions about this, but I don't think there's a logical principle behind it.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 12:27
  • See e.g. this question: Why do we put THE before "Far East" but we don't put THE before "South East Asia"? And this question on oceans, seas, rivers, and lakes.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 12:30

1 Answer 1


It’s because North America is unique and poles aren’t - each rotating body has two of them.

“The” is used when identifying a specific instance from a collection - hence the North Pole as opposed to the South Pole, or when referring to the collection itself - the Poles.

Because there is only one North America it is always specifically identified and there can’t be a collection of them. There can be the Americas refereeing to the collection of both North and South America, or the countries, geographic features, plants or animals therein. There can also be the North Americas referring to the collection of Canada, the United States of America, and Mexico but such usage is uncommon.

The usage of differentiation can be seen in the following exchange:

“I’m John Adams.”

“Are you the John Adams who was 2nd President of the USA?”

“No, I’m the John Adams who was 6th President of the USA.”

Such a conversation would be implausible about North America because unlike John Adamses, there is only one North America.

  • So you are saying even though it doesn't take " the" difinite article, it is unique and specified when we say "North America" because there is only one" North America"
    – Fadoua
    Commented Nov 13, 2022 at 21:57

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