You shouldn't be noisy in <a> church: indefinite or zero article?

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Senior Member

(1) You shouldn't be noisy in church/in a church.

When you want to say a sentence like the above (the generic sentence), is the indefinite article "a" necessary?

I saw some related questions, but I couldn't understand in the case above.(

I guess that when you say "in a church" in a sentence like (1), "church" means the building, while when you say "in church", church means "the place where some religious event takes place". Is this correct?
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    "Church" obviously is a building.

    But .... "Church" also means that religious services are in progress.

    I would use the article if I'm talking about a building, e.g. as a tourist, but drop it if I'm talking about the building while services are being held, e.g. "Don't talk in church."


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
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