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    #1

    Fixed Articles in Place Expressions

    Hi!

    I was reading a book a short while ago. In one of the units, the book introduces a few place expressions. Among these place expressions, some of them have an article in their structures and some of them do not. For e.g.:

    Some of them have the article "a": at a club, at a restaurant,
    Some of them have the article "the": at the mall, at the restaurant, at the park
    Some of them do not have any article: at home

    Now, I would like to know that are these expressions fixed in terms of article usage or it is the context that determines whether the sentence needs an article or not?

    And my last question is that is the same rule applied to other nouns rather than place expressions such as the followings?:


    • Drive a car
    • Ride a bike
    • Ride a motorcycle
    • Take a taxi

    And on the other side of the coin, we have the article "the"

    • Take the bus
    • Take the train
    • Take the subway


    To put my question in a nutshell:
    In the above-mentioed phrases, is the article fixed or the article usage depends on the context?

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Fixed Articles in Place Expressions

    The article depends on context.

    If there is only one of the nouns that would apply to your situation, use "the." With public transportation, there are more than one, but you mean one of the buses that runs your route, one of the trains that goes to your destination, etc. when you use "the."

    When my daughter wants to go to "the" mall, she means the one in the next town. But if you are not familiar with where you are, you might ask "Is there a mall nearby?" Any mall is fine.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #3

    Re: Fixed Articles in Place Expressions

    Why "home" does not have any article?!

    For e.g: I'm at home

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Fixed Articles in Place Expressions

    If you are going to a building, pub, club, restaurant, etc, we use 'a/an' or 'the' depending on context, as Barb said. If you are thinking primarily of the activity, rather than the place, then we use 'the' for certain words:

    go to the pub = go for a drink
    go to the theatre = go to see a play/show
    go to the bank = go to conduct financial transactions


    Other such words, in British English are: post office, cinema, opera, ballet, zoo.

    For certain institutions, we use no article at all if we think of the reason for going/being there rather than the building:

    My father is in hospital = he is receiving medical treatment

    Other such words, in British English are: prison, school, college, university, work, bed.

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    #5

    Re: Fixed Articles in Place Expressions

    Quote Originally Posted by toloue_man View Post
    To put my question in a nutshell:
    In the above-mentioed phrases, is the article fixed or the article usage depends on the context?
    They're not absolutes- in most contexts we will follow these patterns, but it's possible to think of contexts where we will not.

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