Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Consider the following:

I'll probably stay at home.

I'll probably stay home.

Is the second sentence still grammatically correct? Is there any difference at all?

share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

Both are correct. There are instances where they mean the same thing and some instances where they don't.

If you were telling someone that you didn't intend to go out tonight, you could use either.

"Do you want to go with us to a restaurant tonight?"
"No, I think I'll stay home."
"No, I think I'll stay at home."

However, if someone were asking where you were staying, where the answer might be "a hotel" or "a friend's house", you would definitely say "at home".

"Are you going to get a hotel room for the conference?"
"No, I'm going to stay at home."
"No, I'm going to stay home."

(Note that if you did say the struck-through version, that would tend to imply that you weren't going to go to the conference at all.)

However, that "home" is uncommon in that it also functions as an adverb. You can never leave the preposition out with other similar nouns. For example, this is clearly wrong:

"I'll probably stay work."

In that case, you have to create an adverbial prepositional phrase:

"I'll probably stay at work."

share|improve this answer

The key question here is whether it is permissible to omit the preposition; I wasn't able to find many references to this other than a business writing instructor who encourages the omission of obvious or superfluous prepositions.

I would suggest that is it permissible to leave it out if the meaning is unchanged and there is no ambiguity introduced.

share|improve this answer
1  
This is a good point. In general, you cannot omit that preposition. However, "home" functions as an adverb on its own, unlike (most?) other such nouns. For example, "I'll probably stay work" is clearly wrong. –  wfaulk Aug 13 '11 at 0:14

It varies. Some sentences you can skip "at", and other sentences you can't. For example:

(be at home/at work) I'll be at work until 7:00, but I'll be at home all evening.

(be/stay home - you don't use at) You can vist me anytime. I'll be home all evening.

share|improve this answer
    
I disagree. I think you could use "at" or not in either of those examples. (Note that you have to use "at" with "work".) –  wfaulk Aug 12 '11 at 23:50
    
@Wfaulk Notice the word "can". The question here asked whether you can omit "at" and still be grammaticaly correct. I didn't say that you can't, but I said that there is a choice. –  Phonics The Hedgehog Aug 12 '11 at 23:57
1  
Well, you say that sometimes you can't skip it. If that's the case, you should probably give such an example. –  wfaulk Aug 12 '11 at 23:59
    
@wfaulk True. But currently I can't think of one on top of my head. The example I gave was from a sentence I remember reading from a book. –  Phonics The Hedgehog Aug 13 '11 at 0:00

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.