Recently, a student of mine said a sentence that I felt was ok grammar-wise, but sounded a bit weird. The sentence was:

I attend medical conferences in my city

In my native language the expression "in my city" can have both a literal meaning and a slightly idiomatic meaning. In the latter usage, it means something along the lines of "in my area" or "locally". My question is: are there any idiomatic or colloquial expressions in English that conveys the idea of doing something in someone's city, without sounding too literal and stiff? Or maybe I'm too picky and "in my city" sounds just fine?

  • 'I attend medical conferences here in Demeter City' is idiomatic. Mar 22 '17 at 20:57
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    If he is actually in "his" city when he says it, a more colloquial way to express it would be in town: "I attend medical conferences in town."
    – Hellion
    Mar 22 '17 at 21:09
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    in my hometown Mar 23 '17 at 0:28

"in my city" definitely sounds a little stiff. at least in midwestern usa english i think we would name the city, e.g. "i do x in Cleveland" or say sth like "at home" or "back home".

but "in my country" is a different matter, fwiw. it would be completely idiomatic to say "we do x in my country", but a little weird to say "we do x in my city".


I'm assuming "I attend medical conferences" is but one example of a general activity, so I'll use others here.

Examples that occur to me:

I get my hair done in town.

Kyle's jazz band regularly plays in the area.

I heartily recommend the local bodega.

There's a good annual antiques convention around here.

Everyone knows about the concert hall around these parts. (rustic or "country" in tone; probably not what you want, but here anyway for your interest)

There are also other idiomatic phrases more specific than "in my city", and similar in informality:

Why don't you try the corner pub? (pub is at one corner of a nearby intersection)

We usually go to the mall downtown. (mall is in the central business area of the city)

We usually go to the downtown mall. (contrast with above; may also weakly suggest there is more than one mall)

  • I think "in town" is the closest to what I've been thinking of. I assume it would suit my sentence well? "I attend medical conferences in town" ? Can I use it with "my" and say "I atttend medical conferences in my town" or does that modification disables the idiomatic meaning of the expression?
    – IGO
    Mar 22 '17 at 23:15
  • I'd say it's the latter - "in my town" suggests you live in a town, and that's where you attend. "In town" by itself implies that everyone understands what town is being referenced (and that it's the town in which the conversation takes place, or at least where the speaker currently is). Mar 23 '17 at 21:27

One image, drawn from sports, that is often used in a wider sense to indicate the advantage familiarity gives is:

home turf/field

I'll have the upper hand schmoozing the conference attendees - I have the home field advantage.

It's quite colloquial, and its usage validity seems quite subtle (generally situations where you're really highlighting it as some real benefit). It seems fair but not brilliant when attaching it to your situation:

I attend medical conferences on my home turf.

But it does at least definitely allow for usage whether talking about the town, area, locality, or region.


I attend medical conferences in my neck of the woods. The Free Dictionary defines neck of the woods as:

the area you come from or where you now live. If you're in our neck of the woods, we hope you'll come see us

and further says:

A neighborhood or region, as in He's one of the wealthiest men in our neck of the woods. Originally (mid-1800s) alluding to a forest settlement, this colloquial term is now used more loosely, for urban as well as rural locales (emphasis added.)

As for the origin of the phrase, see the ELU question Idiom: in my neck of the woods, AmE

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