Go to a / the doctor


Can we not say,' Go to a doctor'? I have learned that 'Go to the doctor' is a fixed expression but I think that Go to a doctor or see a doctor is also fine to use. What do you experts think?


Thank you so much in advance. 

asked Jan 11 '14 at 04:33 Hans Contributor

2 answers


I'll expand on Sanjay's answer. 


A fixed expression is a phrase that means more than what the words say.  Sometimes, the phrase makes very little sense if you don't know the greater meaning.  Examples: get out of my head, all of a sudden, it's up to you.   


Go to the doctor means exactly what it says.  You will probably more often hear a person say they have to go to the doctor because, as Sanjay noted, they know which doctor (a specific doctor).  Few people pick a random doctor each time they get sick.  If I say, "I have to go to a doctor," then I am indicating I don't know which doctor (or type of doctor) I need to see. We also will say "a doctor" in the case of an emergency, because we don't care what doctor it is - just get me to a doctor. 

link comment answered Jan 11 '14 at 05:27 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

If you are going to a particular doctor, use the definite article "The", or else use "a" .

link comment answered Jan 11 '14 at 04:45 Sanjay Expert

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