Yesterday’s post about ‘nowadays’, ‘these days’, ‘now’ and ‘today’ was quite complicated, so I thought I’d stick to something simple today.
Oceans and seas
Oceans and seas take a definite article:
the Pacific, the Atlantic (or the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean)
the Baltic (or the Baltic Sea)
the North Sea
In general, there is no definite article in front of continents:
I live in Europe.
Asia has experienced tremendous economic growth in the past few years.
The big challenge for Africa is going to be population growth.
However, if you qualify the noun with a relative clause or an ‘of + noun’ phrase, then you need a definite article:
The Europe of today is vastly different from Hitler’s Europe.
The Europe that has developed over the past fifty years is stronger than ever before.