at summer camp/ at a summer camp

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!
 
  • 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.
     

    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'
     

    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.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    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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