Grammar usage (flagged)


I know that articles are not used before primary purposes.  For instance; school, college, temple, jail, prision and so on. But we use the definite article "The" before "office". Is there any grammatical reason for this?  Please explain.

asked Mar 02 '13 at 06:45 Sanjay Expert

2 answers


I am going to the office. [a specific place of work]

I work for the Office of Fair Trading. [a specific organisation]

I am running for office. [an as-yet unspecified public position, such as being treasurer of your local running club]


As for why, that has me stumped and I'm going to think more on it. :-)

link comment answered Mar 03 '13 at 00:05 Han Dunsterville New member

I am not sure what you mean by primary purpose, Sanjay. We have discussed school, college, university, and hospital before with regard to use of articles.

When Tolley goes to work as a teacher, he goes to the school. When the students go there to be taught, we say they go to school (no article).

Do you mean that Tolley's primary purpose is to work, and a student's primary purpose is to be schooled?

If so, then it follows that someone goes to jail to be jailed, but one doesn't go to the office to be officed. On the other hand, one doesn't go to temple to be templed.

I do know that there are some regional differences. In the UK, they go to hospital when they are sick, but in the US, we go to the hospital.

I'm sorry if my answer is unsatisfactory, but I'm with Han. I don't know why these differences exist.

link comment edited Mar 03 '13 at 14:56 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

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