"We got him," Belgian migration minister Theo Francken tweeted following the culmination of a four-month manhunt across Europe.

Why there isn't definite article in front of Europe? For me it would feel logical to say

manhunt across the Europe.

Is this wrong and if so why?

Another example:

The market is a gap which separates producer and consumer.

Why there isn't an article before producer and consumer. For me it would feel logical to say:

The market is a gap which separates a producer and a consumer.

Is this wrong and if so why?

  • 4
    For Europe, it's a proper name. We don't say "the Europe" just as we don't say "the Harri." For producer and consumer, you can add the articles; both options are fine, and mean more or less the same thing. I can't explain why omitting the articles is acceptable, however. It would be more common to add the definite article than the indefinite, however: ...which separates the producer and the consumer. Finally, it's probably better to say "separates the producer from the consumer"; otherwise, the question is "from what are the producer and consumer being separated?"
    – phoog
    Mar 18, 2016 at 21:06
  • 4
    @phoog is correct. The second example is fine as is, though either 'a' or 'the' would work as well. 'The' or no article would be the most common as it is referring to the abstract concepts of producer and consumer, and not individual people. Mar 18, 2016 at 21:21
  • However we have "The United States", meaning the Federative Union, and not the country. This is a bit complex issue, but I just wanted to clarify that not all proper nouns have omitted articles. Mar 18, 2016 at 21:40
  • That's true, another would be The Dominican Republic. Mar 18, 2016 at 21:44
  • Your question about which separates producer and consumer should be asked separately, but you can find an answer to it here: english.stackexchange.com/a/281105/28567
    – user230
    Mar 20, 2016 at 3:19

1 Answer 1


Names of a continent, country, province, state, or city, except for those that contain the words “united” or “union,” or use an “‘of’ phrase” (North America, Canada, Quebec, Minnesota, Minneapolis) DO NOT use indefinite articles.

EXAMPLES (Use 'the'): the United States of America, the European Union, the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Examples (DO NOT USE 'the'): I am from Brazil.; My family visited Mexico.;
The manhunt referred to in the news article took place in Europe.

  • "the" is also required for countries that have express or implied islands in the name: "the Windward Islands", "the Falklands", the Philippines". It is also required for The Bahamas and The Gambia. It used to be required for the Ukraine, but since it separated from Russia it is now "Ukraine".
    – JavaLatte
    Mar 18, 2016 at 21:52