The is used to refer to specific or particular nouns; For example, if I say, “Let’s read the book,” I mean a specific book. If I say, “Let’s read a book,” I mean any book rather than a specific book.
Here’s another way to explain it: The is used to refer to a specific or particular member of a group. For example, “I just saw the most popular movie of the year.” There are many movies, but only one particular movie is the most popular. Therefore, we use the. You don’t need an article when you talk about things in general. The does NOT = all.
You don’t need to use an article with a proper noun. Articles are not used before countries, states, cities, towns, continents, single lakes, or single mountains, holidays, companies, universities, places, locations, streets, sports and acronyms. There are always exceptions which you just have to learn. Here are some below.
1. I need to go to the bank to deposit a check before it closes.
2. Let’s go to the movies next Friday.
3. My dad is in the hospital for the fourth time this month.
4. She works at the post office inside the train station.
5. What time do you have to be at the airport tomorrow morning?
6. Please drop me off at the bus stop near the river.
7. She doesn’t like to go to the doctor or the dentist.
8. I would love to go to the beach this weekend.
9. I am from the United States of America.
10. Many people go skiing in the Alps every year.