Notice these sentences:

  1. Shops are open late in summer.
  2. Summer is a traditionally viewed as a slow season for games.
  3. At the summer solstice, the days are longest and the nights are shortest.
  4. it's time to start thinking about what 2016's Song of the Summer will be.

In English class, they told us that "the" is used for the things that are known. One example for this was a phrase like "The man who killed his wife". So when we are speaking of that man, we know what he did. Somehow we know something more than nothing about him. He's not just every man in the world.

So Now I'm confused about why "the" is not used in the first and second sentences. Can anyone please explain it for me?

  • RE: "In English class, they told us that 'the' is used for the things that are known." Beware of anyone who tells you there is one and only one circumstance or reason to use 'the'. In fact, there are more than one. (You can see my answer here for some more about this.)
    – J.R.
    Jul 5, 2016 at 14:27

2 Answers 2


"Summer", like the other season names, is often treated as a name (and sometimes written with a capital letter, like other names). Examples 1 and 2 do this.

Example 3 is not a counter-example: "summer" is there used as a modifier for "solstice", which is a common noun and requires an article.

Example 4 is a bit more complicated. "Song of Summer" would be possible, but would suggest Summers in general; "Song of the Summer", especially since a year is given, suggests that particular Summer.

  • I wonder if we can use "The summer" as a generic noun phrase. "The summer is a traditionally viewed as a slow season for games" (not a particular summer, just generically "the season called summer"). Jul 5, 2016 at 9:35
  • I would say that since Song of the Summer is capitalized, it is a proper name (possibly a title) and as such is already set. Meaning someone decided it (perhaps some award) would be titled "Song of the Summer" and not "Song of Summer".
    – user3169
    Jul 5, 2016 at 18:32

you are not referring to a specific number of shops, but simply stating that shops in general are open late in the summer. if for example you were referring to the shops down the street from your house you would say: the shops down the street are open late in the summer.

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