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Mama Deb
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December 2010
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Mama Deb [userpic]
To the prom or to prom?

This is driving me nuts - when did this change?

When I was in high school (class of 1981), no one went "to prom" or took someone "to prom". It was always "the prom." You don't take someone to movies, or to restaurant, or to school dance, or even go to senior breakfast.

But in the last two or three years, that's what I'm hearing. Oh, people still say "the prom" as part of the prepositional phrase, but I'm hearing the phrase without the article a lot lately - I'm thinking about last night's Without a Trace, but also Grey's Anatomy last year. Or was it two years ago? Whatever - the one with the prom in the hospital.

When did people start dropping the "the" when it comes to the prom?

Okay. From what I've gathered, it's mostly a regionalism that may have been made more general by the movie Pretty in Pink.


It might. I went to school in New Jersey, which is close geographically but not linguistically, so far as I can tell.

But I'm also thinking about tv and movies from when I was that age. I'd have noticed "Come with me to prom." I think. Because it sounds odd now, and if it didn't sound odd then, it wouldn't sound odd now. Or something.

For sure when we asked each other to be dates... we said "come with me to prom" not "to the prom". I went to three proms between 1991 and 1994.

Nod. Regionalism might have played a part, but it seems to be universal now.

I'm going to put part of the blame on Pretty in Pink, which may have made a regionalism popular.