Americans tend to insert an Article as in "going to the hospital" while the English do not eg. "going to hospital". Is there a language Rule involved or is this simply a dialect difference?

  • Presumably the rule is that American English tends to use the article and British English doesn't. (Language is pretty arbitrary like that; rules are just descriptions of how people use it.)
    – user323578
    Apr 12, 2019 at 13:22
  • 1
    This is a dialectical difference; see Is there a reason the British omit the article when they "go to hospital"?
    – choster
    Apr 12, 2019 at 14:47
  • In some cases "school" is opposite. He went to school. He went to the school.
    – GEdgar
    Apr 12, 2019 at 15:51

1 Answer 1


Informally, both can be used.

Formally/officially/in a written document, you use the article "the" when you have already defined the noun (e.g., which hospital) before, or when your audience already knows which hospital you are talking about (i.e., from the context).

  • 1
    No, an AmE speaker will generally regard in hospital as an error or an affectation, whether the register is formal or informal. Additionally, the omission of the article in phrases like at church, in college, on call, or under pressure indicates that the speaker is talking about a condition or state of being, not about any example thereof.
    – choster
    Apr 12, 2019 at 18:15

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