Preposition: ... <in, at> <the> hospital? [visit him in/ at]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by cheshire, Nov 7, 2006.

  1. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    (1) I visited him at the hospital.
    (2) I visited him in hospital.
    Is it true that "he" in (1) works for the hospital, and "he" in (2) is staying in hospital for medical treatment?
  2. soakupthesun Member

    English, New Zealand
    no, not neccessarily. to visit someone in hospital doesn't always mean they are there for medical treatment, it basically just means that they are situated "in" the hospital. same with to visit someone at the hospital, it's just a different way of saying it!
  3. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    If he works at the hospital and you went to see him there (on business, perhaps), you would not likely say that you "visited" him there. Anytime I hear the word "visit" with respect to a hospital, I think of seeing a patient. Accordingly, if I heard either sentence, it would make me think of visiting a patient although I'd more often use "in hospital".
  4. Joelline

    Joelline Senior Member

    USA (W. Pennsylvania)
    American English

    I agree with soakupthesun regarding your question about visiting a patient or a worker in a hospital. One additional point: in American English, "I visited him in hospital." would never be said. You'd need to add the definite article: "I visited him in the hospital."
  5. maxiogee Banned

    Not necessarily.

    However, I would see it as meaning that he isn't at the hospital now, or that maybe one had a choice of places at which to visit him at the time.
  6. It's just that "visit someone in the hospital" is American English and "visit someone in hospital" is British English, isn't it? What about "visit someone at the hospital"?

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