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  1. #1
    magdalena is offline Member
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    Default at/in the hospital

    How to explain the difference between in the hospital /at the hospital?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: at/in the hospital

    "at" refers to a location, whereas "in" refers to the inside. The former, "at", could refer to either the outside or the inside of a building. Both of these are correct:

    I'm at the hospital. <The speaker could be inside or outside the building>
    I'm in the hospital.

    Speakers might use "at" instead of "in" when location itself is more important than being inside that location and doing something; i.e., waiting for the doctor. For example, a speaker, not all, might use "at" and "in" this way,

    I'm at the hospital, waiting for the doctor. <the location is important>
    I'm in the hospital, waiting for the doctor. <the action is important>

    All the best.

  3. #3
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: at/in the hospital

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    "at" refers to a location, whereas "in" refers to the inside. The former, "at", could refer to either the outside or the inside of a building. Both of these are correct:

    I'm at the hospital. <The speaker could be inside or outside the building>
    I'm in the hospital.

    Speakers might use "at" instead of "in" when location itself is more important than being inside that location and doing something; i.e., waiting for the doctor. For example, a speaker, not all, might use "at" and "in" this way,

    I'm at the hospital, waiting for the doctor. <the location is important>
    I'm in the hospital, waiting for the doctor. <the action is important>

    All the best.
    1. I think Casiopea when you come to at it is not really a question of inside and outside. At views place/time as a point:
    Time seen as a point: at 8 O'clock
    Time seen as a period in the morning

    Place seen as a point (meeting point) at the doctor's /at the restaurant
    Place seen spatially (three dimensional)in the office

    2. The commercial @ is given in email addresses perhaps because it is the point where we meet others

    3. Since at is a point it takes aim (targets). No wonder at comes with verbs which are aggressive. Compare
    She shouted at me / she shouted to me
    He threw the ball at me / He threw the ball to me
    He came at me with a knfe /He came to me
    Best
    Jamshid
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 22-Feb-2007 at 07:44.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: at/in the hospital

    True, true. There's more than one side to "at". It doesn't occur with place nouns only.

    Great addition.

  5. #5
    Romeo4755 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: at/in the hospital

    It seems to me I grasped the idea.

    We usually refer to organizations (meaning that we've come to the place to perform some corresponding actions, not to find a shelter from the rain or to paint the walls :) ) - AT:

    at the post office, at the hairdresser's, at a restaurant, etc.

    So why does Murphy Grammar recommend IN with hospital?


    As far as I understand now, you are IN hospital if you're supposed to stay there for some days (imprisoned there in a way - the idea of being inside some place).

    But we say: He's at AT hospital, having his leg being bandaged. (he's a patient, but not imprisoned, just a routine).

    Again, we say IN prison.

  6. #6
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: at/in the hospital

    Quote Originally Posted by Romeo4755 View Post
    It seems to me I grasped the idea.

    We usually refer to organizations (meaning that we've come to the place to perform some corresponding actions, not to find a shelter from the rain or to paint the walls :) ) - AT:

    at the post office, at the hairdresser's, at a restaurant, etc.

    So why does Murphy Grammar recommend IN with hospital?


    As far as I understand now, you are IN hospital if you're supposed to stay there for some days (imprisoned there in a way - the idea of being inside some place).

    But we say: He's at AT hospital, having his leg being bandaged. (he's a patient, but not imprisoned, just a routine).

    Again, we say IN prison.
    Essentially, as you suggest, to be "in hospital" implies that you are being treated for a condition and that the treatment will last a period of time that will require you to stay in the hospital: "She is in hospital having treatment for leukemia".

    However, if you are only in for a short time and will not be required to stay there - emergency treatment, a clinic, visiting a patient - then you are "at the hospital".

  7. #7
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: at/in the hospital

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    Essentially, as you suggest, to be "in hospital" implies that you are being treated for a condition and that the treatment will last a period of time that will require you to stay in the hospital: "She is in hospital having treatment for leukemia".
    With 'the' added for NaE.

    "She is in the hospital having treatment for leukemia".

  8. #8
    Romeo4755 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: at/in the hospital

    However, if you are only in for a short time and will not be required to stay there - emergency treatment, a clinic, visiting a patient - then you are "at the hospital".
    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    With 'the' added for NaE.

    "She is in the hospital having treatment for leukemia".
    Sorry for a certain lack of wits - but here (as sometimes in such threads) is s bit of confusion.
    What are we talking about?
    Is the point that - talking about a short stay at a hospital for bandaging not only we should use 'AT' but 'the' as well?

    ! By no means I want to hurt the feelings of AE or CE, but let's finish with the British variants first :) .

  9. #9
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: at/in the hospital

    Quote Originally Posted by Romeo4755 View Post
    Sorry for a certain lack of wits - but here (as sometimes in such threads) is s bit of confusion.
    What are we talking about?
    Is the point that - talking about a short stay at a hospital for bandaging not only we should use 'AT' but 'the' as well?

    ! By no means I want to hurt the feelings of AE or CE, but let's finish with the British variants first :) .
    The only difference between BrE and NaE, it seems, is that for a prolonged stay, we use 'the', whereas BrE doesn't.

    BrE - She's in hospital for an operation.

    NaE - She's in the hospital for an operation.

  10. #10
    Romeo4755 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: at/in the hospital

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    The only difference between BrE and NaE, it seems, is that for a prolonged stay, we use 'the', whereas BrE doesn't.

    BrE - She's in hospital for an operation.

    NaE - She's in the hospital for an operation.
    :)
    I see. But the question was: should I (in BE) always use 'IN hospital' without the article while using 'the' every time I say 'AT' ('at the hospital')/
    Is 'at hospital' wrong?

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