I'm sure most of the time when we talk about the books' chapters we are talking about a specific book.

I will check again but I am pretty sure we are supposed to read chapter two.

I wonder why "the" is not used before "chapter two".


In English, we normally never use definite or indefinite articles in front of things that are being referred to using numbers. That's, more or less, always true without exception. You can basically regard it as a rule.

I think the reason why we do this is probably due to the fact that numbers (only cardinal numbers, to be more precise) in general are used to identify things uniquely. And when something is unique (that is, there is only one instance of it which exists), you don't really need to use articles to help you determine which one specifically, out of many similar ones, you're talking about.

A couple of sentence examples:

Mr. Jones is in room 256.

You will find more information pertaining to this topic on page 234.

  • 1
    Although only with cardinal numbers, not ordinal numbers. For example, that is the 15th cookie he's eaten in the past hour vs. he is now on cookie 15 – Andrew Mar 26 '18 at 22:35
  • Thank you. Thant's a very good point. I forgot to mention that. – Michael Rybkin Mar 26 '18 at 23:09
  • @MichaelRybkin Thanks, Does "both" work in the same way as cardinal numbers? "on both sides" vs "on the both sides"? – PHPst Mar 29 '18 at 4:01
  • There should never be an article in front of both! So, it's always on both sides. – Michael Rybkin Mar 29 '18 at 4:12
  • Oh, there are 3,940,000 occurrence of "the both sides" on the web. – PHPst Mar 29 '18 at 4:22

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