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Please help

English grammar help. Grammar questions from ESL learners

Moderator: Alan

Please help

Postby Rustamsher » Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:26 pm

"I met Sobir when we were both at university.
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A friend of mine commented on the sentence above as follows:

According to me, the conjunction 'while' would be more suitable and the article 'the' is necessary before 'university'.
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In reply to his explanation, I gave my version as follows:

In my opinion, the sentence is correct as written.

--> Both "when" and "while" are interchangeable there.

--> As concerns the definite article, there is no need to use it.

Note that British English speakers use "at university", while American English speakers do not use university and hospital without articles, that is, AE speakers say "at the university".
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He answered:

I can't imagine AmE speakers using 'at the university' in that context.

I think you are confused about the different uses illustrated in these two sentences:

When did you meet?
We met while we were at university.

Where shall I meet you?
Let's meet at the university.

In the first, 'university' is a stage of education. In the second, it is a specific building or set
of buildings. This is the case in BrE and AmE.
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I meant, AmE speakers use "the" even when uiniversity' is a stage of education.

Are my inferences correct?

Many thanks.
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Re: Please help

Postby Alan » Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:50 am

Yes!
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