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Thread: see a doctor?

  1. keannu's Avatar
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    #1

    see a doctor?

    Actually, I lived in Canada before, and I know the medical system a little bit. In korea, when someone is sick, we always say "You need to go to hospital" not "You need to see a doctor."

    Is it because you have to see a family doctor or go to clinic first instead of going to a big hospital? Why don't they say "you need to go to clinic"?

    What exactly does clinic mean? specialist? I always went to a family doctor first, then got a referal and went to a clinic. So I think there seem to be three steps "doctor-clinic-hospital."

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    #2

    Re: see a doctor?

    Regardless of the medical system itself, the terms are fairly the same in English:

    Hospital is a place for definitive treatment of illness or disease. It can be a short stay or a long term admission but the point is: your purpose in being there-you are not leaving until you are healed.

    A clinic has a different purpose. It does not have facilities to keep you overnight. It is intended for you to be diagnosed and either send you to a hospital for further treatment, or to treat you and send you home. A clinic is meant to give you definitive care for those that don't need hospital facilities.

    A doctor is an individual that will treat you. In some places like the states, you go to a private doctor for diagnoses and treatment.

    In some public medical systems or medical insurance systems you would first go to a clinic or the hospital has a clinic in it.

    Your question is actually about the colloquialisms of the medical system of the location.

    British colloquialism is: "go to hospital" Technically it is not a grammatically correct sentence structure-hence colloquialism

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: see a doctor?

    Quote Originally Posted by davilan View Post
    British colloquialism is: "go to hospital" Technically it is not a grammatically correct sentence structure-hence colloquialism
    Go to hospital/school/jail/church/etc are grammatically correct BrE constructions.

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    #4

    Re: see a doctor?

    go to school
    go to church
    go to jail
    are correct sentence structure

    Go to THE hospital would be correct even in British English-I am sure I will regret saying that as I will now have to figure out why and get back to you.

    "Go to hospital" is a contraction that has become an acceptable form of speech-in UK English and that is why it is colloquial

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: see a doctor?

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    In Korea, when someone is sick, we always say "You need to go to hospital" not "You need to see a doctor."
    Is it because you have to see a family doctor or go to clinic first instead of going to a big hospital?
    In Britain, the first resort if we feel unwell is to go to our family doctor, our GP (General Practitioner). We say that we must 'see a doctor'. We often say 'see the doctor', just as we 'go to the pub', because we think of the activity, not the person or place as such.

    Even if we go for treatment to the out-patients department of a hospital, we still often say that we are 'seeing a/the doctor', though we may add 'at the hospital'.

    If we need to 'go to hospital', then we need more treatment than the GP can provide. Unless we suddenly become seriously ill, or are involved in an accident, then it is normally our GP who arranges for us to go to hospiital.
    Last edited by 5jj; 22-Mar-2011 at 08:45. Reason: typo

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: see a doctor?

    Quote Originally Posted by davilan View Post
    "Go to hospital" is a contraction that has become an acceptable form of speech-in UK English and that is why it is colloquial
    No.

    If we are ill, we go to hospital. This is not colloquial.

    When I was taken ill last year,
    1. I was rushed to hospital.
    2. the ambulance took me to a hospital not far from my house.
    3. The ambulance took me to the hospital where my son had been treated the previous year.

    There is no contraction or colloquialism in #1.

    to/in hospital: we are concerned with the illness or injury and its treatment.
    to/in a/the hospital: we are concerned with the building.

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    #7

    Re: see a doctor?

    Hospitals need articles-grammatically they can not be generic. The hospital or a hospital

    The more difficult to explain is why schools, churches and jail can be generic and therefore do not need articles.
    Last edited by davilan; 22-Mar-2011 at 08:42.

  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: see a doctor?

    Quote Originally Posted by davilan View Post
    Hospitals need definite articles
    Davilan. this is simply not true. In some cases the definite article is required, as in example #3 in my last post. In some case the indefinite article is required, as in example #2. In some cases the natural and normal English construction is without any article - #1. Using an article in example #1 conveys a different message.

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    #9

    Re: see a doctor?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    No.

    If we are ill, we go to hospital. This is not colloquial.

    When I was taken ill last year,
    1. I was rushed to hospital.
    2. the ambulance took me to a hospital not far from my house.
    3. The ambulance took me to the hospital where my son had been treated the previous year.

    There is no contraction or colloquialism in #1.

    to/in hospital: we are concerned with the illness or injury and its treatment.
    to/in a/the hospital: we are concerned with the building.

    #1 has become an acceptable speech pattern. It did not start out as, and technically it is not correct grammatically. There are certain nouns that require articles. Hospitals are one of those nouns.

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    #10

    Re: see a doctor?

    a hospital is only a concrete noun

    a school can be a concrete noun, a countable noun or a collective noun so it does not always need an article

    Is it possible that in British English concrete nouns don't always need articles-yes of course but I can't find anything that says that.
    Last edited by davilan; 22-Mar-2011 at 09:01.

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