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Preposition: ... <in, at> <the> hospital? [someone is ....]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by roniy, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. roniy Senior Member

    Brooklyn NY
    ISRAEL: Fluent Hebrew ( Speak Russian, Learning English)
    or also somebody who has come visiting a patiant and he is in the building of the hospital ?????

    because I know that a visitor can say "at the hospital"

    Thanks.
     
  2. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English
    It depends on context. If I say to you, "Do you know that our friend John is in the hospital'', it almost surely means he is a patient. If we go with Tom and Mary to visit John (while he is in the hospital) and coming back to the parking lot after the visit, I notice that Mary is not with us, I might say, "Where is Mary? Is she still in the hospital?". In this case I am just referring to her physical location.

    One situation when one might use "at the hospital": One might be told, "The doctor is not in his office now. He is doing rounds at the hospital."
     
  3. roniy Senior Member

    Brooklyn NY
    ISRAEL: Fluent Hebrew ( Speak Russian, Learning English)
    But If you are going to visit somebody and you friend is calling you and ask you "where are you"
    It is fine to say " I am in/at the hospital" but "in" emphesize that I am in the building ???
    Is it correct ??

    Thank you :)
     
  4. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English
    I think I would be more likely to say, "I'm at the hospital now visiting John.''
    You could also say "in'' here, but I think ''at'' is more likely for a visitor. "In the hospital'' carries the connotation that you have been checked in as a patient. But, as I mentioned above, in context it can simply mean location in the hospital building.
     
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I think we would only use "in" for a patient. Visitors or staff are "at" the hospital.
     
  6. Samo Junior Member

    Usa English
    patient( spelling) in for patient. in or at both for visitors. In British and most other English speakers outside the US omit "the"
     
  7. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    BE only omits "the" for patients. Visitors are at the hospital - not at hospital.
     
  8. Samo Junior Member

    Usa English
    Pan, I do agree: sorry I was not clear enough.
     
  9. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English
    But how about my example:
    In this case you wouldn't say "Mary is still at the hospital", would you?
     
  10. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    I would :) BE/AE difference?
     
  11. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    No, I would say "Mary hasn't come out yet.":D

    Sorry, in that particular circumstance I would, sure enough, expect to hear, "Is Mary still in the hospital?". Or, "Where's Mary?", "She's still in the hospital."

    Somewhere between the car park and home, she would stop being "in the hospital" and be "at the hospital". There's material for a PhD project in there somewhere. Probably something about plotting socio-economic, ethnic and geographic variations on the in/at contour around hospitals and relating that to hospital size and specialty profile. Good grief, there's a complete faculty in that concept.
     
  12. MCL

    MCL Senior Member

    Mexico
    English, U.S.
    I would say that if I were no longer at the hospital myself- I've left the hospital's premisis.

    If I were still in the parking lot (for example) I would say that Mary was still in the Hospital. Meaning that she is still inside the building.
     
  13. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    So, are you suggesting that the in/at contour runs around the boundary of the hospital site? Once you are off the site, Mary would be at the hospital, not in the hospital?

    Sorry, I'm not being awkward, I'm intrigued. This topic comes up quite often here and suddenly, this time, I am really interested in where we would stop using in and start using at. I suppose it makes logical sense if that point is at the site boundary - it's just that I was fantasising about something much more interesting:)
     
  14. MCL

    MCL Senior Member

    Mexico
    English, U.S.


    Since I am also at the hospital -on the grounds- I would be differentiating where on the premises Mary is at this time.

    She's in the hospital.
    She's inside visiting David.
    She's in the restroom.
    She's in the cafeteria.
    She's not out in the parking lot with the rest of the group.

    Once I have left the premises, the place she is located at would be the hospital.

    So -yes, I suppose so, whatever my own perception happens to include inside of that boundary.

    AT what distance? What about the bus stop on the perimeter of the parking lot?
    Hmmmm....:)
     
  15. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English

    I agree. And that was my assumption: We had just come back to the car in the hospital parking lot and found Mary hadn't come out yet. I think the in/at boundary coincides with the boundary of the hospital grounds.

    Pan, I wouldn't be too surprised to find out that some academic has already written a paper on this subject. I couldn't find such a paper, but a cursory search turns up a similar discussion here--with hospital being replaced by zoo, theater, Middle East, etc. But they seem to miss the ''boundary'' criterion proposed above. :)

    << Please see Preposition hospital in the WR Dictionary >>
     
  16. rapunzella Junior Member

    Arabic
    do we say I was at the hospital or I was in the hospital ?
    thank u :)
     
  17. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    Both are possible, Rapunsella. As is usual, we'll need to see the context before we can help you decide which one is best.
     
  18. rapunzella Junior Member

    Arabic
    there is no text I just wanted to tell my friends that i was sick and in/at the hospital .
     
  19. ain'ttranslationfun? Senior Member

    US English
    "in the hospital" (US), "in hospital" (UK). ("I was at the hospital (usually when you were there is specified or known from the context)": "I stopped by the hospital", perhaps to pick up some documents, or to visit a hospitalized friend.
     
  20. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    Rapunzella, as you can see, this has often come up before, so I've merged your thread with one of the earlier threads. If this doesn't answer your question, you can add to this thread, or you might want to follow the link provided by panjandrum in post #15.

    JustKate
    English Only moderator
     
  21. rapunzella Junior Member

    Arabic
    ohh thank you so much Justkate
    I'm grateful to you :)
     
  22. rapunzella Junior Member

    Arabic
    thank you JustKate
    I'm grateful to you :)
     

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