at summer camp/ at a summer camp

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Madrid001, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. Madrid001 Senior Member

    Spanish
    Hello!

    Can you please tell me if the 'a' has to be omitted with nouns such as 'boarding school' and 'summer camp' or if it would also be acceptable to use it like with most nouns?

    For example.

    1A. My parents sent me to boarding school/ summer camp.
    1B. My parents sent me to a boarding school/ summer camp.

    2A. She is at boarding school/summer camp.
    2B. She is at a boarding school/summer camp.

    I have heard the version without 'a' many times but sometimes, certain structures, sound weird to me if I don't include 'a'. Can you please explain this to me?

    Thank you very much!
     
  2. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    Boarding school/ summer camp are both uncountable. They describe the concept of boarding school/ summer camp
    A boarding school/ summer camp are both countable and refer to a real place.
     
  3. Madrid001 Senior Member

    Spanish
    So can all of my examples be used or not?

    By the way The Longman Dictionary says 'boarding school' is countable so I really don't understand why you are trying to say by 'the concept of'
     
  4. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    All your examples are possible.

    Longman Dictionary is wrong. We know boarding school and summer camp can be uncountable because you can use both phrases correctly in the singular without a determiner and we know they can express a concept.
     
  5. Parla Member Emeritus

    New York City
    English - US
    Longman has more than once been referred to in this forum as "Wrongman".
     
  6. dojibear

    dojibear Senior Member

    Fresno CA
    English - Northeast US
    What did you do this summer? I spent August at summer camp.

    Where
    were you this August? I was at a summer camp in Maine.
     

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