Omission of "the" - Omission of the Definite Article Part 2

The is also omitted before: home, church, hospital, prison, school, etc and before work, sea and town


When home is used alone ie is not preceded or followed by a descriptive word or phrase, the is omitted.

  • He is at home.

home used alone can be placed directly after a verb of motion, like go.

  • He went home.
  • I arrived home after dark.  
  • I sent him home.

But when home is preceded or followed by a descriptive word or phrase it is treated like any other noun:

  • They went to their new home.

  • We arrived at the bride's home.
  • For some years this was the home of your queen.
  • A mud hut was the only home he had ever known.

2  bed, church, court, hospital, prison, school/college/university

When the places listed above are visited or used for their primary purpose, the is not used before them.

We go:

  • to church to pray.
  • to school/university to study.
  • to prison as prisoner.
  • to court as witnesses, etc. 
  • to hospital as patients
  • to bed to sleep 

When these places are visited or used for other reasons the is necessary:

  • He goes to the school sometimes to repair a few things.
  • I went to the court with a letter for someone important.


  • We go to sea as sailors.

  • To be at sea = to be on a voyage.


  •   We go to/are at the sea = we go to/are at the seaside.

  • We live by the sea.


When speaking of the speaker's own town, the can be omitted:

  • We go to town sometimes to buy clothes.

  • We were in town last Monday.

5 work and office

work, meaning "place of work", is used without the:

  • He isn't back from work yet.
  • He is at work.
  • He's on his way to work.

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