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Why Don't Brits Use The Article Of Speech "the"  
User currently offlineDeltaGator From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 6341 posts, RR: 13
Posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3390 times:

Simple question and it extends to more than just Brits (just couldn't fit all the countries into the title.)

Why do Brits/Canadians/others not use the article of speech "the" when speaking? Why do they say "I'm going to hospital" or "I'm going to Univeristy" instead of the hospital or the university?

I suppose it is just an extraneous word that doesn't do much for the sentence but it was the way I was taught and I'm just curious why it is taught other ways.


"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
84 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8453 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3375 times:
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why do Americans say "different than" instead of (correctly) "different from"?

And it is not "Brits" it is "British". Brits is a little town in South Africa.

[Edited 2007-10-15 12:07:15]


After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineME AVN FAN From Switzerland, joined May 2002, 13920 posts, RR: 25
Reply 2, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3376 times:

Quoting DeltaGator (Thread starter):
Why do Brits/Canadians/others not use the article of speech "the" when speaking? Why do they say "I'm going to hospital" or "I'm going to Univeristy" instead of the hospital or the university?

-
Whether correct or wrong, I was told by a British teacher in London, that I when in a town/city of size with various hospitals/universities around was to say "go to hospital" but if I was somewhere in the countryside I might say "to THE hospital", but that in reality this was not necessary -- just possible. He explained that it is of minor importance, particularily in a country with a cost-free National Health Service like the U.K. to WHICH hospital you are going, but that the point is to go TO HOSPITAL / TO UNIVERSITY etc. But to THE bar, THE restaurant, etc.


User currently offlineCastleIsland From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3369 times:

An interesting line from Monty Python's "Elephantoplasty" sketch from "Matching Tie and Handkerchief:"

"...he spent three weeks in hospital and then eight weeks in the zoo."

So, we get the definite article "the" with "zoo," but not with "hospital."

So what is up with this strange little bugger, "and it's the definite article 'the?' Dennis..."

"Well, he's started five of his last six novels with a definite article..."

But, I digress.


User currently offlineNighthawk From UK - Scotland, joined Sep 2001, 5157 posts, RR: 33
Reply 4, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3371 times:

Quoting DeltaGator (Thread starter):
Why do Brits/Canadians/others not use the article of speech "the" when speaking? Why do they say "I'm going to hospital" or "I'm going to Univeristy" instead of the hospital or the university?

i think the question should be "why do americans use the article of speech 'the'...". Everyone else seems to say it the other way, its just you guys that are different...



That'll teach you
User currently offlineIFEMaster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3297 times:

Well, while we're at it, why do people use the word 'of' instead of 'have'?

For example, "I could of gone to hospital" instead of the correct "I could have gone to hospital".


User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8453 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3292 times:
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Quoting IFEMaster (Reply 5):
I could of gone to hospital"

I think that is more about pronunciation than anything else, I have never seen anyone actually write a sentence like that.



After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineIFEMaster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3279 times:

Quoting Andz (Reply 6):

I think that is more about pronunciation than anything else, I have never seen anyone actually write a sentence like that.

Happens on here quite regularly. You're right though, probably the pronunciation of 'could've' being spelled as 'could of'.


User currently offlineEmiratesA345 From Canada, joined Jun 2003, 2123 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3256 times:

I don;t know any Canadians that say, "I go to hospital." University, yes, we more often times than not, do not use "the", but not hospital.

-Mark



You and I were meant to fly, Air Canada!
User currently offlineEWRCabincrew From United States of America, joined May 2006, 5523 posts, RR: 56
Reply 9, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3245 times:

In the US, you say go to college, not 'the' college. Why woudl it be different with university?


You can't cure stupid
User currently offlineCastleIsland From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3243 times:

Quoting EWRCabincrew (Reply 9):
In the US, you say go to college, not 'the' college. Why woudl it be different with university?

Because some people "go to college" at a University and some at a College. In your sentence, "college" is a concept, not a place. Further, English is f#cked up, which probably accounts for everything. Well, not everything.


User currently offlineEWRCabincrew From United States of America, joined May 2006, 5523 posts, RR: 56
Reply 11, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3231 times:

Quoting CastleIsland (Reply 10):
In your sentence, "college" is a concept, not a place.

No, it was meant as a place.

Quoting CastleIsland (Reply 10):
Further, English is f#cked up, which probably accounts for everything.

Ain't that the truth.



You can't cure stupid
User currently offlineBraybuddy From Ireland, joined Aug 2004, 5733 posts, RR: 31
Reply 12, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3212 times:

There would be a slight difference on this side of the Atlantic between "going to hospital" and "going to the hospital". The former would be a generic term, whereas the latter would imply a specific hospital.

User currently offlineAaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 8153 posts, RR: 26
Reply 13, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3196 times:

Why do Americans continue throwing questions about English across the pond when we're the ones guilty of butchering the language the last 200 years?


If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
User currently offlineRicciPettit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3183 times:

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 13):
Why do Americans continue throwing questions about English across the pond when we're the ones guilty of butchering the language the last 200 years?

How true!!

I find it cringe-worthy.


User currently offlineSMOLT From Japan, joined Nov 1999, 278 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3183 times:

Hi. This is an interesting but annoying problem to us, non-native.
In high school education in Japan it is taken to be wrong to say "I go to the school".
If you do this, you'd be told by your teacher "Just say ""I go to school"" or you lose points at the exam then
you won't be able to -go to university-".

By the way, with all these severe grammers taught in school education here in Japan, you will find how it is
difficult to make yourself understood in English when you come to Japan. Why?


User currently offlineGkirk From UK - Scotland, joined Jun 2000, 24936 posts, RR: 56
Reply 16, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3174 times:

So, we're all agreed.
The Americans suck at speaking properly  Wink  duck 



When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!
User currently offlineYYZflyer From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 3643 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3167 times:

Quoting Gkirk (Reply 16):
The Americans suck at speaking properly

Agreed. Just look at the south, you can barely understand what they say.  duck   flamed   Wink



Avoid hangovers, stay drunk.
User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3167 times:

Quoting DeltaGator (Thread starter):
Why do Brits/Canadians/others not use the article of speech "the" when speaking? Why do they say "I'm going to hospital" or "I'm going to Univeristy" instead of the hospital or the university?

I'd say the use of a definate article would be appropriate if you are talking about a particular University or Hospital, and if both speaker and audience know which one you are talking about.


User currently offlineAaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 8153 posts, RR: 26
Reply 19, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3164 times:

Quoting YYZflyer (Reply 17):
Agreed. Just look at the south, you can barely understand what they say.

To be fair, that goes just as well for highland Scots, drunk Irishmen, and rural Aussies.



If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
User currently offlineTsaord From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3154 times:

Well. I question got turned into an "Why do Americans do everything different" rant. Pride is a killer lol.

User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8955 posts, RR: 59
Reply 21, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 3118 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
DATABASE EDITOR

I find it interesting that the US and UK refer to corporations and groups so differently. For example, if Ducati releases a new motorcycle:

US magazines say - "Ducati has released a new motorcycle"

while

UK magazines say - "Ducati have released a new motorcycle".

It's as though the US refers to the company as a single corporate entity, while the UK refers to the company as a group of people.

2H4




Intentionally Left Blank
User currently offlineBraybuddy From Ireland, joined Aug 2004, 5733 posts, RR: 31
Reply 22, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 3118 times:

Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 12):
Why do Americans continue throwing questions about English across the pond when we're the ones guilty of butchering the language the last 200 years?



Quoting RicciPettit (Reply 14):
How true!!

I find it cringe-worthy.



Quoting Gkirk (Reply 16):
So, we're all agreed.
The Americans suck at speaking properly



Quoting YYZflyer (Reply 17):
Agreed. Just look at the south, you can barely understand what they say.

 Yeah sure  Yeah sure  Yeah sure  Yeah sure  Yeah sure  Yeah sure  Yeah sure  Yeah sure  Yeah sure

Whether people like it or not, English is an international language, influenced from all over the globe. And all the better for it.


User currently offlineGkirk From UK - Scotland, joined Jun 2000, 24936 posts, RR: 56
Reply 23, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 3115 times:

Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 22):
Whether people like it or not, English is an international language, influenced from all over the globe. And all the better for it.

To be sure, to be sure  Wink



When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army Boys, we'll be coming down the road!
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26499 posts, RR: 75
Reply 24, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 3080 times:

Quoting DeltaGator (Thread starter):

Why do Brits/Canadians/others not use the article of speech "the" when speaking? Why do they say "I'm going to hospital" or "I'm going to Univeristy" instead of the hospital or the university?

I suppose it is just an extraneous word that doesn't do much for the sentence

In some ways, it is just extraneous. It is sort of like someone who writes "a myriad of things" as opposed to just "myriad things". In any case, I don't think we as Americans actually use "the" when referring to going to University unless it is in very specific circumstances. When just talking generally, we usually say "I'm going to University" or more accurately "I'm going to college".

Quoting Andz (Reply 1):
why do Americans say "different than" instead of (correctly) "different from"?

"Different than" is correct in American English.

Quoting Andz (Reply 1):

And it is not "Brits" it is "British". Brits is a little town in South Africa.

It is an abbreviation.

Quoting Andz (Reply 6):
Quoting IFEMaster (Reply 5):
I could of gone to hospital"

I think that is more about pronunciation than anything else, I have never seen anyone actually write a sentence like that.

It is more like people are saying 've than anything else.

Quoting EmiratesA345 (Reply 8):
I don;t know any Canadians that say, "I go to hospital." University, yes, we more often times than not, do not use "the", but not hospital.

Most Canadians I know say "I was in hospital" or something of the sort

Quoting EWRCabincrew (Reply 9):
In the US, you say go to college, not 'the' college. Why woudl it be different with university?

It isn't. I think that wasn't a great example.

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 13):
Why do Americans continue throwing questions about English across the pond when we're the ones guilty of butchering the language the last 200 years?

Actually, American English tends to be more heavily influenced by the older language than is British English.

Quoting SMOLT (Reply 15):

In high school education in Japan it is taken to be wrong to say "I go to the school".

It is wrong. It all depends on the context and the words used.

Quoting Gkirk (Reply 16):

The Americans suck at speaking properly

This from a Scot?

Quoting Cfalk (Reply 18):

I'd say the use of a definate article would be appropriate if you are talking about a particular University or Hospital,

I never said "I go to the UCLA" or "I go to the Tulane". As far as University goes, I think the is only really properly and consistently used when someone is describing the physical act. For example, "I am going over to the University now." Otherwise, no "the" is used. It is the opposite for hospital, where "the" is used pretty much all the time.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
25 Aaron747 : I wouldn't go around expecting the Japanese education system to address the issue of context. English is taught from a rote-learning perspective only
26 ScarletHarlot : I've never heard anyone say "I'm going to hospital" but if you asked someone "How's your mom doing?" you might get the response "She's in hospital".
27 SMOLT : I have imagined one situation. In such a socialism nation as the Soviet Union as it used to be, where medical services are provided by the Nation equa
28 HuskyAviation : You mean "could've", not could of. Well I'm glad DG asked the question, I think it is interesting. You wouldn't say "I went to park" rather than "I w
29 Baroque : 17 replies before Cfalk points out the bleeding obvious. Note he did not point out "bleeding obvious" because we would not know which "bo" it was, "t
30 Post contains images FlyDeltaJets87 : *ahem* Some of use use it. The Ohio State University. Which is usually followed up by "Your mom goes to college." I could be wrong, but it probably s
31 AerorobNZ : Interestingly I read it as two different meanings. "I'm going to hospital" I would use if I was going to hospital to have surgery etc etc ie: for an
32 Post contains images DeltaGator : That probably is the underlying reason. I believe you meant to say The University of Florida, Northern Campus. And the other 2% say "I is a college s
33 Halls120 : I didn't think the OP was suggesting that the British were using (or not using) "the" correctly. He was just asking a simple question about why Engli
34 Graphic : They actually kinda do use the article "the" but for them it's a bit different, they add an amendment so it is actually "thebloody."
35 VC-10 : The one I can't understand the the US version of "I couldn't care less" - i.e. " I could care less" It means the opposite of what is intended.
36 J_Hallgren : Yea, I don't get it either...the missing "the" sounds just so...weird/odd...here we would typically identify which hospital, and may not even say the
37 Boston92 : As a general rule, the proper noun does NOT get a "the". Examples: Common Noun: I am going to THE hospital. Proper Noun: I am going to Cedars-Sinai. (
38 Post contains images Skywatch : As a Texan, I can understand and speak "Southern." Now real, original, English English? Nope. Well, Ima fixin' tuh do somethin' more inerestin' than
39 VC-10 : That is because generally in the UK only one hospital serves an area so saying its name is superfluous.
40 Post contains images ME AVN FAN : so that this teacher was right ! in Texas, one of the more special expressions is "hellouly" !
41 N200WN : I think this was a good question by the OP as I've always been a little curious about the different usage of "the" between the "Brits" and the "Yanks.
42 Post contains images USAFHummer : "could of" = "could've" Since they pretty much sound the same, I dont think anyone actually says "could of", but instead they are saying the contract
43 Post contains images Banco : That's historical, really. We also have a habit of referring to "the Ukraine", which irritates Ukrainians (and fair enough too!). Yes, that's exactly
44 Nighthawk : From wikipedia: Country names In English most countries never take the definite article, but there are many that do. It is commonly used with many co
45 JGPH1A : And even worse, "the Argentine" - OK this particular useage is dying out, but still.
46 Zak : while we are at it, "them americans" are guilty of the worst abonimation known to mankind: THEIR THERE
47 Post contains images LHRjc : You should try going to Yorkshire - they replace "the" with "t'' "- so instead of "I'm going to the pub", i't becomes "I'm going to t'pub".... Very co
48 Post contains images JGPH1A : Since we are in a grammatical criticism thread, perhaps you should rephrase that. "THEY'RE THERE" is perhaps what you meant.
49 Post contains images Banco : "Grammatical criticism"? Are you sure that works like that?
50 Zak : perhaps not.
51 Wolverine : I had a teacher, who talked american english. So I learned to speak the american way. Nowadays I don't remember much of the grammar lessons, I just sp
52 VC-10 : That should be "I had a teacher, who spoke American English"
53 Post contains images Nighthawk : "I had a teacher, who spoke American-English" would be even more correct
54 Gman94 : The word that irritates me the most that Americans use is 'normalcy', WTF!!!! It's 'NORMALITY', stop making up silly words!!!
55 Post contains images LH423 : In Eastern Ontario I find "to/in hospital" tends to be more 'broadcaster' English and more common with the 40+ crowd, though there are exceptions to
56 CaptainJon : Another thing is why do Americans like to make nouns verbs constantly by adding -ise to the end of it? Such as, "Mr Smith was hospitalised." Rather th
57 Boston92 : This suggests that Smith may or may not be in the hospital currently. This suggests that Smith was in the hospital and was released.
58 Falstaff : I have heard that said on the news on CFCO 630 AM out of Chatham-Kent. I have heard it in reference to taking accident victims to the hospital. That
59 ME AVN FAN : It is amazing that all the hyphens you see in Britain become unnecessary across the Atlantic ! - In Britain it is London-Heathrow-Airport and for Ame
60 SMOLT : Thinking back to 80's there was a Japanese word meaning "the American language". I thought this was to distinguish American-English from British-Engli
61 Banco : It is? Never seen it written like that. More likely, it's just "Heathrow" anyway.
62 Baroque : Can anyone explain "of of" or is it "off of"? Message on note from butcher to my landlady when I lived in Beeston, originally famous for the Beeston
63 Post contains images ME AVN FAN : you mean "Heathrow, England" ?
64 Post contains images David L : I think you have to consider that when people say they're "going to university", they mean all that it entails, e.g. attending lectures, studying, si
65 Dougloid : I saw a guy wearing a tee shirt one time that bore the legend, "Fuck y'all. I'm from Texas" I could say the same thing but Texas sounds ever so much
66 Post contains links Oly720man : Off of = off, i.e. from. Heard in certain regions e.g. "I got it off of him." Otherwise off, i.e. move from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Get_Off_of_M
67 Baroque : I know, but aside from being ugly it is generally YUK! I think I prefer t'coil oil. There is also to orientate when there is a perfectly good verb to
68 JetsGo : Is that word even used anymore? I honestly haven't heard it outside of my history classes. I was taught it was just a word made up and used during th
69 Banco : No, it's older than that. Nineteenth century at least. But I believe it was President Harding who first popularised it and brought it into wider use.
70 JetsGo : I was worried I might be off on the date, but the principle remians the same. Thanks for the correction.
71 Post contains images TimePilot : "I had a curry last night" -- drives me nuts hearing that Don't get me started; I've endured 7 years of having mostly Brits (from England; not Ireland
72 Acey : To me, "I couldn't care less" implies that the said topic is already so worthless to you, that you could not possibly give any less of a damn. It mak
73 Boston92 : That is the one that made sense to VC-10 as well. He was referring to "I could care less" that didn't make sense.
74 Acey : Ahh..understood.
75 Post contains images Banco : Wow. You sound a real charmer.
76 Post contains images David L : Yes, that was a bit over the top. Regarding that part of your rant concerning language, I don't think the non-English Brits are any less guilty of as
77 Banco : That story about it being after a newspaper is a myth isn't it?
78 Post contains images ME AVN FAN : And what happens if YOU "table" a proposal and your US friend also "tables" that proposal ? - or imagine a "fag" from a British university meeting an
79 Banco : More of a public school thing than a university one. "Fag" is more likely to refer to a cigarette than anything else.
80 Post contains links Nighthawk : interesting.... I always thought it was true, so decided to check it out when you questioned it: Claim: Baseball's championship competition is known
81 ME AVN FAN : truly amusing is the story about a proposal around at the UN general assembly in the times when Gromyko was USSR UN ambassador. The Brits wanted to T
82 Post contains images David L : Wow. All those years I thought I'd been taken in then finally seen the light. Oops. OK, back to Plan A: what a ridiculous name. The first time I went
83 Banco : I'll bet. And of course, one of the greatest misunderstanding occurred during filming of a scene with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The Americ
84 Post contains images David L :
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