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    #1

    works at school or at a school?

    It is the rule that nouns such as “school, church, hospital, university and the like” are used without any article in adverbial modifiers of place it the place is used to indicate the primary activity going on in that place such as ‘studying’ for school ‘praying’ for church ‘serving one’s time’ for prison and so on.

    So we say that someone goes to school and mean that he/she is a student.
    But we say ‘Mom went to THE school to pick up my brother’ because she did not go there to study.

    How about, if a person works in such a place?
    Is it still correct to drop the article and say ‘She works at school/in prison‘ meaning that she is a school-teacher/a warden.
    Or do I have to use some modifier and say ‘She works at A school’ (if I do not know which school it is)?

    I witnessed a similar discussion sometime ago in which an American argued that you HAD to use some modifier and say ‘She works in/at A school’

    Left me still wondering..



  1. engee30's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: works at school or at a school?

    Quote Originally Posted by black_velvet View Post
    It is the rule that nouns such as “school, church, hospital, university and the like” are used without any article in adverbial modifiers of place it the place is used to indicate the primary activity going on in that place such as ‘studying’ for school ‘praying’ for church ‘serving one’s time’ for prison and so on.

    So we say that someone goes to school and mean that he/she is a student.
    But we say ‘Mom went to THE school to pick up my brother’ because she did not go there to study.

    How about, if a person works in such a place?
    Is it still correct to drop the article and say ‘She works at school/in prison‘ meaning that she is a school-teacher/a warden.
    Or do I have to use some modifier and say ‘She works at A school’ (if I do not know which school it is)?

    I witnessed a similar discussion sometime ago in which an American argued that you HAD to use some modifier and say ‘She works in/at A school’

    Left me still wondering..


    In American English you normally use an article. As far as I know, In British English, however, you don't have to use an article to say that you work as a teacher in school.
    ___________________________
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    Bear in mind I'm not a teacher!


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    #3

    Re: works at school or at a school?

    Yet they do not use the article in American English when they say that their kids are at school, do they?

  2. engee30's Avatar
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    #4

    Wink Re: works at school or at a school?

    Quote Originally Posted by black_velvet View Post
    Yet they do not use the article in American English when they say that their kids are at school, do they?
    No, they don't. In American English they usually say in school, whereas in British English they say at school (meaning attending a school):

    All my children are still at school. UK
    All my children are still in school. US

    By Collins COBUILD


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    #5

    Re: works at school or at a school?

    Not very consistent (of the Americans)

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    #6

    Re: works at school or at a school?

    Whether an article is used or not can depend on whether we know which school is being talked about.

    If one lives in an area where there is only one school, we will say 'She works (in)(at) school.' Because there is only one school in the area, everyone will know which school we are talking about.
    If one lives in an area where there are many schools, we will say 'She works (in)(at) a school.' We later may tell them which school she works at.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: works at school or at a school?

    Well, we Americans are consistent among ourselves. Except when we're not. :)


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    #8

    Re: works at school or at a school?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    Whether an article is used or not can depend on whether we know which school is being talked about.
    If one lives in an area where there is only one school, we will say 'She works (in)(at) school.' Because there is only one school in the area, everyone will know which school we are talking about.
    But you stilled dropped the article! Don't you think, since there is only this one school and everybody knows that school and it is not an abstract thing (like love, eternity, friendship) then it is just LOGICAL to use the very )) definite article.

    If one lives in an area where there are many schools, we will say 'She works (in)(at) a school.' We later may tell them which school she works at.
    But not in British English?

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    #9

    Re: works at school or at a school?

    Quote Originally Posted by black_velvet View Post
    But you stilled dropped the article! Don't you think, since there is only this one school and everybody knows that school and it is not an abstract thing (like love, eternity, friendship) then it is just LOGICAL to use the very )) definite article.

    But not in British English?
    1...Which article?
    Since the discussion was between using an article or not using one, in order to make my point I chose a scenario in which it would be very acceptable not to use an article. Especially if "She" studies and works in the one and only school, it would be correct to say 'She works (in)(at) school.' (you don't have to say '...at the school', although you can)

    2...What is said in British English?

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