In Ruchir's answer here, he specifies the word 'anarthrous' (before editing). I could not find any satisfactory definition/description about it in popular dictionaries that we find online.

Anyone here to describe this? What is 'anarthrous' in the context of the English grammar. Wikitionary talks about it but I did not get it completely. MW too has an entry but it is limited in description.

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    Anarthrous means "lacking an article" (and possibly other determiners). I went to the hospital is "arthrous", I went to hospital is "anarthrous". Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 7:54
  • I read that. I'm interested in discussing it with more examples and some grammatical insight @CopperKettle
    – Maulik V
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 8:25
  • Related: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_title. Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 8:51
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    This answer and a good list of examples. The word is just a descriptive term, as per @CopperKettle
    – user6951
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 9:24
  • Academic trumpery that does not convey knowledge and understanding of language. Sometimes Wikipedia comes up with such useless exotic terms. With such terms you can fill a book.
    – rogermue
    Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 11:23

1 Answer 1


Some more explication: American: I went to the hospital. British: I went to hospital.

Proper nouns are generally anarthrous, e.g. France, Russia etc. but there are exceptions, e.g. the United States of America, the Maldives and the Philippines, which are plural, and the Ukraine, which is now referred to sans article. An article can change the meaning of a sentence: "Do you have the time?" is likely a request to check your watch, "Do you have time?" is asking for your attention.

  • As far as the places are concerned, they follow some rules. In stated examples, if the country has several lands/places, islands, then collectively, they take 'the'.
    – Maulik V
    Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 4:43
  • Not "The Ukraine", though. English probably has more exceptions than rules. sigh Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 5:01

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