Whether to add 'the' before place names can be confusing, especially if you are not a native English speaker. Why, for example, do we say 'Buckingham Palace' but 'The Royal Opera House'? It's certainly not obvious!\n\nIn this blogpost, we look at a few of the guidelines for when to add 'the' before a place name.\nGeographical Place Names\nMost large areas, such continents, countries, regions, cities, towns and even villages, do not require the definite article ('the'). For example:\n\n \tAsia\n \tNorth America\n \tAustralia\n \tNew South Wales\n \tSydney\n\nHowever, if the place name refers to a group of places or contains the word 'republic', we usually add 'the':\n\n \tThe Cayman Islands\n \tThe Netherlands\n \tThe Czech Republic\n\nWhile continents do not require adding 'the' (e.g. 'Antarctica'), sometimes the regions to which they belong do need one (e.g. 'the Antarctic').\nLakes and Mountains\nThere's not usually any need to add 'the' before the names of individual lakes and mountains:\n\n \tLake Como\n \tMount Bogong\n \tLake Amadeus\n \tCarruthers Peak\n\nHowever, there are exceptions to this, like 'the Acropolis' in Tasmania or 'the Matterhorn'.\n\nIf you're referring to a group of lakes or a mountain range, though, you should add 'the' before the name:\n\n \tThe Himalayas\n \tThe Snowy Mountains\n \tThe Great Lakes\n\nThe key thing here is remembering that 'the' is needed when referring to a group of landmarks.\nBuildings and Monuments\nThings are more complicated with buildings and monuments, as there is no specific rule you can apply: some buildings and monuments take 'the' and others do not. For example:\n\n \tThe National Theatre\n \tSydney Opera House\n \tThe Eiffel Tower\n \tFederal Square Building\n\nYou will just have to memorise these, check online or have your work proofread.\n\nWhen referring to museums, bars, hotels, theatres and galleries without naming one establishment in particular, it is correct to add 'the':\nShall we go to the museum this weekend?