EN: à l'école Dussoub

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by chambers, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. chambers Senior Member

    français - French
    Hi !

    Could you tell me if there's a difference between at / in when you say :

    I'd like to attend an evening class at Dussoub school.

    I'd like to attend an evening class in Dussoub school.

  2. Tazzler Senior Member

    American English
    "at" is correct. "Dussoub school" is completely foreign to me as an AE speaker but I assume it represents the French name.
  3. chambers Senior Member

    français - French
    "Dussoub school" is French indeed.

    And what about "in" because I've noticed some people would say in + the school name.
    Some people in the UK do that. I had a look for Sandy Hook elementary school, and in some articles, I could find in

    Ex : the pupils attend school in Sandy Hook elementary school.

    So, if you say in instead of AT, is there a real defference in meaning ?
  4. Tazzler Senior Member

    American English
    No, but I find "at" more idiomatic for the same reason you wouldn't prefer "dans" over "à" in French. It places too much emphasis on being inside.
  5. chambers Senior Member

    français - French
    Thanks a lot for your answer. It's clear.
  6. radagasty Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    Australia, Cantonese
    I agree with Tazzler. The entire phrase at Dussoub school sounds bizarre, or at least foreign. What was the original name in French? If it was à l'école Dussoub, then the English equivalent should be 'at the Dussoub School', with the definite article and school capitalised.
  7. chambers Senior Member

    français - French
    I don't agree with you Radagasty. Dussoub is a family name. So, I don't think I have to use the article "the". It's the same thing with airport. For instance : I'll meet you at Trudeau airport.
  8. Tazzler Senior Member

    American English
    In America "school" by itself wouldn't be used but then again the educational systems are so different...
  9. chambers Senior Member

    français - French
    I see what you meant. If I add the school's name + Primary School, it should be better. And in this case, I could keep the word school.

    If that's what you meant, indeed I forgot to write "Primary".
  10. radagasty Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    Australia, Cantonese
    What you say of airports is true, but it's not necessarily the same thing. Consider 'the Julliard School', 'the Saïd Business School', 'the John F. Kennedy School of Government', 'the Montessori School', etc. At any rate, it might clarify matters if we knew what the original name in French was.
  11. chambers Senior Member

    français - French
    If you google "go to Montessory school" you'll find a lot of results. Wen you say The John F. Kennedy School of Government, as you say "of Government" we have to say "the". When you talk about the Said school, even the Dean hasn't used "the" when he wrote the article "Welcome from the Dean". Have a close look at the beginning of the article. (As a newcomer to Saïd Business School and to Oxford, I have spent the last few months meeting with my new colleagues: faculty, staff, students, and alumni.) The Julliard school is quite special so I understand we use "the" to show it's unique in a way, but if you google "go to julliard school", you'll find that many natives don't even use "the". The primary school I talked about has nothing special or unique. So, even if in French we say "l'école primaire Dussoubs", I really doubt this implies I have to say : "the Dussoubs primary school". Native English teachers never use "the" when they say : "At Dussoubs primary school".
  12. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    Never say "never." ;)

    Proper nouns are funny things, and usage can be idiomatic.

    A sentence such as "My son is at Russell but my daughter goes to the Park School" is perfectly possible if common usage in the communities concerned refers to the one school as "Russel" and the other as "The Park School." Why would one end up with a definite article while the other does not? Probably because it's a private school that deliberately has branded itself with the definite article as part of its name.

    But it's true that we don't generally use the definite article in the proper name of a school, although we can use it if we describe the school adjectivally to help distinguish it from all other schools: my daughter goes to the immersion school, to the Montessouri school (using "Montessouri" as an adjective that indicates the teaching method), to the American high school in Nairobi (assuming there is just one "American" high school there), etc. Note that many universities have "schools" within them that are named for someone or something and use the definite article. This definite article usage is to distinguish one university's school of e.g., business from all other schools of business (e.g., "the XYZ School of Management"), or to distinguish various faculties within a single university (the law school vs. the medical school vs. the school of engineering, etc.) This usage has very little to do with the way we talk about the schools young children attend, which tend to be identified in very different terms.

    If you're just translating the name of a local public school, l'école Dussoub, then I don't see any reason to introduce a possessive or a definite article. Assuming it is indeed an école, serving children under the age of ~11, then it would probably have been called something like Dussoub Elementary if it were located in the United States, and everyone in the community would just say "My son is at Dussoub" or "My daughter goes to Dussoub."

    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  13. chambers Senior Member

    français - French

    Thanks for your post because "Dussoub" is really just a local public school, which has nothing special. Many English natives say : "to go to Dussoub". And you know what, at the beginning, my first post wasn't about the article "the". But your post is very interesting. ;-)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2013
  14. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    Regarding your original question, Chambers, the choice of preposition reflects what is in the speaker's mind.

    "At" is a neutral location marker, while "in" denotes being physically inside the building. We don't usually need to be so specific: if the class is "at" Dussoub, it's surely not going to be on the roof! So "at" is more standard, I think, as other people said above.

    It strikes me as a bit odd that a building where children attend public school during the day would be made available for adult evening classes that are run by a different group. Saying that you take classes "at" Dussoub sounds a little bit as if Dussoub organizes the classes. For this reason, I can imagine adjusting what you would say a little bit:

    "I'd like to attend an evening class...
    ...that meets at Dussoub
    ...that's held at Dussoub.
    ...in the local public school building."
    ...in the Dussoub (school) library."
  15. chambers Senior Member

    français - French
    Hi Jann,

    About the use at / in Tazzler has already explained me the difference, and you reply is the same. I asked this question about "in / at" because I've noticed some people use "in", and I understood thanks to the forum it was because some activities could be done out of the school. So "in" here was a way for them to emphasise an activity would happen inside the school.

    As you have noticed, English is not my native tongue. That's why things, which can seem obvious for a native can be a bit tricky or surprising for an English learner. For instance, I've noticed I had to say :" I am in St Paul's (It's the name of a street in London ) and before I used to say : "I am on St Paul's". Thanks to the forum I understood the use of "on" was more an American thing. And all the Brits I met, they just told me it was wong to say on St Paul's. Even with this example, I'm pretty sure I could find some people who would disagree, but that's just my experience in London.

    Another example, when you say in English that someone gets on the bus. Well, the French person who hears this sentence for the very first time is surprised because they understand what you said (on the roof because we still think in French somehow).But here again, it's something idiomatic.

    In Paris, France, we have what we call "les cours du soir", and these evening classes are for adults. You can learn foreign languages, computer science and many other subjects at a competitive price. Theses evening classes are organised by the City hall of Paris, and they take place in different local public schools. The premises, that is to say the primary schools, are lent to enable people to attend their evening classes.

    Finally, thanks again for the examples you gave me by adjusting what I would say. Your examples back up what I thought. :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2013

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