Object Activity Nouns


Rule 8.1: Do not use the indefinite article or the definite article with object-activity nouns.


Activities
1. I love going to church. (I love the activities at church, e.g. praying, singing, meeting people, etc.)

Buildings
2. I love going to churches. (I love churches as physical objects, the buildings, e.g. many people who are not religious go to Europe and visit the churches there because they think they are beautiful.)
3. I love going to a church. The church has a great choir. (I love going to one particular church)
4. The church across the street is over 300 years old. (one specific church)


Some common object-activity words that do not take an article


church
work
university
college
school

class
bed
prison
jail
court

mosque
temple
heaven
hell
purgatory


Exception to Rule 8.1: Use the definite article with some object-activity words.


Students may get confused as some object-activity nouns use the definite article causing them to believe that one specific place or thing is being referred to. This is not the case.

Activities


1. John needs to go to the library. (John needs to go to a library, it could be any library, and do the activities that are usually associated with them, e.g. doing research, finding books, studying, etc.)

Buildings


2. Many people think that because of the Internet, libraries will disappear in the future. (libraries as physical objects, the buildings will disappear)
3. I visited an awesome library yesterday. The library was very spacious and modern. (one specific library)
4. The library next to my house is awful. It has poor lighting and it’s not very quiet. (one particular library, e.g. the one next to my house)


Most object-activity nouns that use the definite article are related to duty or obligation. Words such as park, theater, museum, and zoo are not, however.

Some common object-activity words that are preceded by: the


store
park
supermarket
pharmacy
theater
library
post office

bank
hardware store
bakery
gym
dry cleaners
laundromat
barber

airport
museum
office
zoo
bus
subway


Exercise 1: Assuming you were referring to an activity, would the sentences below be correct or incorrect? Write the correct answer in the blank below. If the answer is correct, type in the word ‘correct’.

Exercise 2: Do the sentences below refer to an Activity or a Physical location? Choose the appropriate  answer.


Extra! Places that are not object-activity nouns follow the rules discussed in generalizing in the plural


Specific: a, an, s, or the

1. I went to a great restaurant last night. The restaurant is next to my office. (one specific physical location)

2. The restaurant you told me to go to was awful. (one specific physical location)

3. The restaurants you prefer are different than the ones I prefer. (specific type of restaurants)

General: s

1. I love going to restaurants. (I love the activities that are associated with restaurants and/or restaurants as physical objects)

2. Eating in restaurants can get pretty expensive after a while.
i


Entertainment

Many places that are not object-activity nouns are usually; but not always, places associated with entertainment. Demonstrations, funerals, protests; for example, are definitely not entertaining.

Common Places of Entertainment


BBQ
party
coffee shop
bar
pub

nightclub
amusement park
arcade
soccer match
baseball game

concert
play
magic show
pool hall
dance


Exercise 3: Assuming you were speaking generally,would the sentences below be correct or incorrect? Write the correct answer in the blank below. If the answer is correct, type in the word ‘correct’.