Is it wrong to say "I work at a hospital" if I mean that I work in a specific hospital unknown to the person I am talking to? How is it different from the more common "I work at the hospital"?

closed as off-topic by user140086, jimm101, ab2, Hellion, Nathaniel Feb 22 '16 at 16:27

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  • Both are valid for me, but they mean different things. The first means that I work at some unspecified hospital, more specifically that the kind of place I work at could be described as a hospital. The second implies there's some local or known hospital that people work at, and that's where I work. – siride Feb 15 '16 at 6:05
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    Possible duplicate of Is there a reason the British omit the article when they "go to hospital"? – user140086 Feb 15 '16 at 6:50

It's not wrong. It's the same with this "a" or "the" as it is with any other. "I work at a hospital" means you are not volunteering the specific hospital at which you work. "I work at the hospital" says you are referring to a specific hospital, and that there is only one hospital to which the listener could reasonably assume you are referring.

Hopefully you will consider my response the answer, and not just an answer... :-)

  • LOL good! And my pleasure – M. E. Feb 15 '16 at 9:50
  • But there is a potential confusion because in US English they say "in the hospital" to mean "as a patient in a hospital" without necessarily implying a particular hospital. This is not directly relevant to the question because it does not apply to working in the hospital; but it is a potential confusing factor. In British English we say "in hospital" for that. – Colin Fine Feb 15 '16 at 10:52

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