Do you go to <the> gym / shopping / home

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  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    "The" can refer to a type of thing: "The cheetah is the fastest land mammal".

    It has a particular use with places, and you will often hear people speak of "the gym", "the shops" and "the pub", for example, even when the speaker does not have a particular place in mind. They probably do have a particular gym in mind, but they might not be thinking of a particular pub:
    A. Shall we go to the pub?
    B. That's an excellent idea.
    A. Which one, the Red Lion or the Cock and Bull?
    B. How about the Swan?​

    Options B and C don't work, as "shopping" is an activity rather than a place, so it does not take the preposition "to", and "home" is exception among places and it, too, does not take the preposition "to".
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