definite article - go to mosque / go to church

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definite article - go to mosque / go to church

Post by iain » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:22 pm

"What do you wear when you go to mosque?"
"What do you wear when you go to church?"

A brief poll of colleagues showed that "go to mosque" doesn't sound right even though it should be right.
I think it doesn't sound right simply because it doesn't really ring enough bells with us, being outside the mosque-going community and exposure to such a phrase.

Any ideas or evidence?

Stephen Jones
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Post by Stephen Jones » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:34 pm

No reason why 'go to mosque' should be right.

'Go to church/hospital/university/prison' is correct. 'Go to mosque/petrol station/supermarket/ night club' is not.

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Go to group and go to a place?

Post by Heath » Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:27 am

I get the impression that people who do attend a mosque as part of their belief would be very likely to say 'go to mosque'. "Go to a church" seems to me to have connotations related to visiting a place or building, and "go to church" seems to have connotations of attending a group or club (or something along those lines). People from a society with a Christian background will naturally feel 'go to church' is possible because they have heard many people say it. Mosque is a bit rarer, and so chances are we haven't heard it used enough to judge.

Internet Research
'Go to mosque' is very common. A quick search will find it used on sites ranging from (and who would know better than someone who actually does go to mosque), wikipedia, and even (a UK newspaper).

Corpus Research
A combined search of 1,000,000 words each in the Brown Corpus, the BNC written corpus, and the BNC spoken corpus found no examples of 'go' and 'mosque' occuring together at all. (Backing up my comment above regarding having not heard the word mosque enough to judge).

A randomised search using the 56,000,000 word Cobuild sampler gave exactly two examples in which 'go' and 'mosque' occurred together.
1) We go for prayers at the mosque, and...
2) He doesn't pray he doesn't go to mosque.

In example 1 it is not clear if 'go' is linked with 'mosque' or if it is more part of the phrase 'go for prayers'. In example 2 it clearly demonstrates that 'go to mosque' is possible. And again note the rarity of 'go' and 'mosque' occurring together (only 2 times in a collection of 56 million words).

'Go to mosque' is perfectly acceptable, but because people from Christian societies (ie. most UK, US, Aus, etc, nationals) have not had a lot of exposure to the word 'mosque' they have not heard it used enough to make a good judgment.

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Sounds good to me.

Post by danielwelsch » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:53 am

I don't see any reason why "go to mosque" should be wrong. Like Heath says, it's just a combination we anglo-saxons don't use very much.

Anyway, sometimes these prepositions are a regional thing. In American English, we say "go to the hospital." Never mind which hospital we're talking about. Also, "she's in the hospital."

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