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Quick grammar question thats confusing
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decibalsrising



Joined: 12 Sep 2012
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:56 am    Post subject: Quick grammar question thats confusing Reply with quote

Anyone know why for the most part people can say for example, go to church" but not "go to bank"? Havent really thought about it until it popped up today
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YTMND



Joined: 16 Jan 2012
Location: You're the man now dog!!

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:18 am    Post subject: Re: Quick grammar question thats confusing Reply with quote

decibalsrising wrote:
Anyone know why for the most part people can say for example, go to church" but not "go to bank"? Havent really thought about it until it popped up today


Common understandings don't need articles.

So, you don't talk to "the John" (I guess you could if you were in the bathroom Laughing), but typically we would talk to John.

You don't "go to bank" because there are so many, but going to church is seen as something common a whole population within "a" group would do.

Try this one:

Did you have lunch yet? vs. Did you have a lunch yet?

Both are ok, but we usually say the first because it is assumed we all are going to have lunch.
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decibalsrising



Joined: 12 Sep 2012
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry still dont follow. I know that we dont say "the John" and "Did you have lunch" is used most of the time. Actually I never ever in my life heard someone say "Did have a luch" but rather "did you bring a lunch"

Also "did you have lunch" doesnt always mean to assume that we will have lunch. Sometimes its just asking if that particular person ate or not. Also your comparison of church and bank doesnt make sense to me. People can go to church or bank as a group in either instance.

Still doesnt really explain why we commonly say "go to church" but in other cases we say "go to the bank", "go to the bakery" etc.
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YTMND



Joined: 16 Jan 2012
Location: You're the man now dog!!

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Also your comparison of church and bank doesnt make sense to me. People can go to church or bank as a group in either instance.


I didn't mean they go as a group. I meant they all shared in the experience, but a child would not share in the experience of going to a bank in the normal sense of the context I am speaking of.

For them, they would "go to school". This doesn't mean all students go to the same school or as a group, but they share the idea of going to school. A parent might say instead, "My child goes to a private school". The experience is not something they have in common, not shared.

I could ask you, "When you went to school, did you bring a lunch or did you eat lunch in the cafeteria?" (note: if we said "bring lunch" instead, it might be for everyone, something in common, something shared)

The use of "a" is simply a counter to only refer to 1, whereas the lack of an article references something more abstract, a general idea. I don't know where you went to school, but I assume we have that experience in common.

Another way to look at it is I assume you went 1 and not 2 schools.
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Squire



Joined: 26 Sep 2010
Location: Jeollanam-do

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's quite a difficult one. I often have to correct my kids when they talk about 'going to the home' and 'going to the school'. Then they ask why 'going to the shop', 'going to school' and 'going home' are all different. I'd be in favour of the language being changed so that 'going to the home', 'going to the school' and 'going to the shop' are all correct, and state employed grammar nazis are everywhere to correct (or even punish) people when they talk about 'going home' or 'going to church'.

After work today I came to the home
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decibalsrising



Joined: 12 Sep 2012
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hear ya Squire. English is plain dumb in many many cases. Even if there is a rule there actually shouldnt have to be one and just say the same things uniformally. This goes with spelling in English as well. We dont need "ph" when we have an "f" haha
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Allthechildrenareinsane



Joined: 23 Jun 2011
Location: Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:30 am    Post subject: Re: Quick grammar question thats confusing Reply with quote

decibalsrising wrote:
Anyone know why for the most part people can say for example, go to church" but not "go to bank"? Havent really thought about it until it popped up today


You might find helpful these posts from Language Log which discuss these kinds of anarthrous nouns:

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=4223

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=4241

Language Log itself (http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/) is actually a pretty good resource for language related questions and issues -- it's a group blog written by professional linguists.
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The Cosmic Hum



Joined: 09 May 2003
Location: Sonic Space

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:33 am    Post subject: Re: Quick grammar question thats confusing Reply with quote

decibalsrising wrote:
Anyone know why for the most part people can say for example, go to church" but not "go to bank"? Havent really thought about it until it popped up today


As Squire mentioned...this is a bit of a difficult one.
The reasons...and exceptions...are numerous.

Home...concept. No article or preposition required.
I am going home.
House...specific tangible object.
I am going to my house. (both article and preposition)

Church and school historically have concept aspects to them...and hence don't require articles...but do require a preposition.
They were often the same building or in the very near vicinity...different rooms in the same building.
Sometimes they were held in someone's home...but the concept of church and school would be applied at the time of being used.

This is also cultural.
I am going to the hospital. AmE
I am going to hospital. BrE

It can also depend on the verb and the location/direction.
I am going home
I am home.
I am at home.

Banks and such came much later to local communities.
As such, both the article and preposition were forced upon them as the grammar nazis were obviously firmly established in the local communities by that time. Wink
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schwa



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: sokcho

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Customary usages that just need to be learned.
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YTMND



Joined: 16 Jan 2012
Location: You're the man now dog!!

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
We dont need "ph" when we have an "f"


There is no F in the greek alphabet. Notice it's not "alfabet"?

http://aoal.org/Greek/Alphabet/GreekAlphabet.gif

(funny thread http://www.antimoon.com/forum/t12100-15.htm ) Laughing Laughing
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decibalsrising



Joined: 12 Sep 2012
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well there should be no F then to be honest.

And since we arent speaking greek anymore and since F is more commonly used than PH, then should eliminate PH all together.
Who cares what letters they used centuries ago. We can make English anyway we like as long as everyone accepts it. Why have two different letters sounding the same?

anyway, weird
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YTMND



Joined: 16 Jan 2012
Location: You're the man now dog!!

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And since we arent speaking greek anymore and since F is more commonly used than PH


Well, there is a very simple reason for that.

"Waw, the hook, may originally have represented a mace. The Greeks used one version of waw which looked like our F, which they called digamma, for the number 6. This was used by the Etruscans for v, and they passed it on to the Romans as F." Shocked Shocked Shocked

http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/alphabet.html

Now, why would you want to erase all that mumbo jumbo and just use the letter F? What would you teach your students next? Wink
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Souperstition



Joined: 12 Nov 2012

PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is not a professional opinion, but to me (at least in this situation with these events) it seems like the particle gets dropped when you are referencing a scheduled event. For example:

"I am going to church." (Going to a regularly scheduled church service)
"I am going to the church." (Need to stop by the church, but not for a service - going to speak with the pastor, pick something up/drop something off, etc.)

"I am going to school." (When you're going to class)
"I need to go up to the school first." (Forgot something and need to go get it, need to take care of some business there - but you're not going there specifically for class)

So you're more talking about the event (church service, class) than the actual location. That might be an idea for how to generalize it (even though there are so many exceptions) when explaining it to students.

Also, you would not use particles in non-generic places that have actual names, like the name of a restaurant or store. So perhaps as someone earlier said, "school" and "church" get lumped into this category of specific places.
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Dodge7



Joined: 21 Oct 2011

PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isn't the morning "generally known" and common to everyone? Why do we say in THE morning then?
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Malislamusrex



Joined: 01 Feb 2010

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are going to 'the church' you are going to a specific place. Going to church is not a destination it's an idea.

To put it another way you could say I'm going 'to two churches' two physical places. You couldn't say I'm going 'to churches'.
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