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    town or the town

    "Dennis Connell, who works at a grocery store in the town, said emergency vehicles swarmed around City Hall, where the city courtroom is located on the second floor."

    We say things like

    "I'll be headed up to town at lunchtime to buy food at a supermarket."


    "I was fixing dinner while he was in town."

    Why is it "in the town" not "in town"? Is it similar to "He works in hospital" or "He works in the hospital."?

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    Re: town or the town

    It's 'the' town because it refers back to a previous reference to it. When context supplies the 'previous reference' (by implication) there's no 'the'.

    (This is a simplified answer. There was a time - in living memory - when anyone in the south of England who said 'in town' meant 'in London'; but that's a historical prejudice that students can safely ignore.)


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