"when we are referring to" vs. "when we refer to" uses the following sentence to give the source of a reference.

From English Grammar Today on Cambridge Dictionary

I found a lot of posts say it the same way, without any articles before the name "English Grammar Today".

I guess it's because "English Grammar Today" is kind of book name.

So, the following rule

We don’t usually use articles with individual mountains or lakes when the name includes Mount or Lake: Mount Fuji, Lake Victoria. We don’t use articles with continents (Asia), countries (Romania), towns (Edinburgh), and streets (Lombard Street).

could be expanded as

... We don’t usually use articles with book names when the books are used as a reference.

is my understanding correct?

1 Answer 1


It's correct that you would not put "the" directly in front of a book name. If you want to use a definite or indefinite article, you can say "a book, 'English Grammar Today'", or "the book 'English Grammar Today'.

Grammaring "definite article for books"

  • An exception to this is Christian Bibles, which are collectively referred to as "The Bible", and singularly referred to as "A Bible". Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 6:12
  • @MatthewWells Interesting. I guess the same would apply to the Koran, and maybe to other unique sacred texts. "A Bible" means a copy of the Bible, but it does look like an exception. Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 6:24
  • @MatthewWells The same applies, surely, to any book in which "The" is (either explicitly or implicitly) part of the title. "The Elements" by Euclid. "The Jewel in the Skull" by Michael Moorcock. And of course in this case one is expected to put the "The" inside the quotes and not outside it. Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 7:37
  • @PrimeMover Technically, in those cases the title is still not preceded by an article, which is why I didn't bring them up. Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 9:03
  • 1
    @MatthewWells Yes, technically correct (the best kind of correct), but as this is a point of ubiquitous confusion I thought it worth the mention. But a mention only, hence why it was put into a comment and not an answer in its own right. Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 9:07

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