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In town / in the town - UniLang

In town / in the town

Moderators: JackFrost, dEhiN

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Ambery
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In town / in the town

Postby Ambery » 2014-10-22, 5:57

Hello all,

Can anybody explain me why "the" sometimes disappears here? When do you say "in town" instead of "in the town"?

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hashi
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Re: In town / in the town

Postby hashi » 2014-10-22, 8:43

The only way I can think of to differentiate these is that 'in town' generally refers to the same city you're in, while 'in the town' refers to another city.

Like if you said the two sentences below (without specifying which town):
There were a lot of people in the town that day; and
There were a lot of people in town that day

I would assume that the first was another city that you're talking about, but the latter would more likely mean the city that you're in. (although this is not always the case).

Also do note that 'in town' can also mean 'in the central city/CBD'.

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Re: In town / in the town

Postby Dormouse559 » 2014-10-22, 21:23

"In the town" to me refers only to a literal town and the person being described with the phrase is in the town proper.

On the other hand, "in town" refers to anything from a town to a city and (as hashi said) means the town/city/etc. the speaker is in. It also feels looser in terms of where the in-town person is; they could just be in the area, rather than within the exact boundaries of the city.
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Ambery
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Re: In town / in the town

Postby Ambery » 2014-10-24, 6:36

All right, thank you both, I was thinking this way, too, but I wasn't sure.

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Re: In town / in the town

Postby dEhiN » 2014-10-26, 14:45

hashi wrote:There were a lot of people in the town that day; and
There were a lot of people in town that day

Well to me "the" also is used for specificity. So depending on the context, in hashi's example, I could see both sentences being used for the same situation - for example, let's say there was a festival and two people are reflecting on that day. In that case, the difference to me would be that with "in town" because the town being referred to is implied, there's no need to specify by using an article. While, with "in the town", the speaker is choosing to explicitly specify - ie, "in the town" versus "in the surrounding areas outside of town".
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