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Mama Deb
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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.


Well, I graduated in '73 and it was "to the prom" then.

But I have notice a shift to drop "the" in a few cases and I'm starting to do in some situations.

Like some of my Aussie friends don't say "to the university" or "to the hospital". It's "to university" or "to hospital" and I've started to pick it up in writing if not that much in speech.

I find the Britishism charming, but if USans do it, affected.

Which probably says things about me. :)

I learned (in a Dickens Faire language workshop) that it's "to hospital" or "in hospital" if you're a patient. If you're visiting, you're going "to the hospital."

Actually, in America, it's the same for most things, just not hospital. You go to jail if you've been arrested, you go to the jail to visit Daddy. You go to court if you've been summoned, you go to the courthouse to pick up papers or for a field trip. My daughter goes to school, but I go to the school, my daughter's school, Catherine's school, etc.