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    #1

    At x At The

    Can someone pleeease explain to me the difference between "at" or "at the"? I still don't know when to use one or another and it's confusing.

    For example:
    "At home" or "At school" and then "At the store" or "At the bank"

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: At x At The

    It is confusing to learners. I don't think there is any rule that applies to these usages. Even worse, the uses don't seem to be guided by logic.

    One can be at home or at a/the nursing home.
    One can be at work or at the office.
    One can be at college or at the university. (AmE)
    One can be at McKinley Park or at a/the park.
    One can be at school or at a/the school.

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    #3

    Re: At x At The

    Thank you Mike!
    I though I missed an explanation during class or something

  2. Roman55's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: At x At The

    I am not a teacher.

    If the word is used as a countable noun you need an article.

    If it is used as an uncountable noun you don't use an article.

    "Home" as 'the word we use to indicate where we live permanently' is uncountable. Nursing home is countable.
    I am at home. I go home. I am at the nursing home.

    "School" as 'the word we use to refer to the institution for educating children' is uncountable. If meaning a particular establishment it is countable.
    I am at school. I go to school. I am at the school.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: At x At The

    That is all true, but I don't see a "rule" there. The OP was looking for a reason.

  4. Roman55's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: At x At The

    I am not a teacher.

    The OP asked for an explanation and that is what I tried to give.
    I believe the distinction between countable and uncountalbe nouns is a good place to start understanding how this works.

    You talked about the rule.

  5. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: At x At The

    Sorry, but we tend to use countable and uncountable as an explanation for the usage, not the other way around.

    We say "in prison", "in jail", but "in a halfway house". Why?
    The Brits say "in hospital" and Americans say "in the hospital". Why?

    That is why I said there is no rule.

  6. Roman55's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: At x At The

    I am not a teacher.

    OK, my turn to apologize. I think I misunderstood what you were saying.

  7. 5jj's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: At x At The

    Quote Originally Posted by Roman55 View Post
    The OP asked for an explanation and that is what I tried to give.
    I believe the distinction between countable and uncountalbe nouns is a good place to start understanding how this works.

    You talked about the rule.
    That makes sense to me.

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