'Go to School' or 'Go to the School'

Students go to school (not to the school). Fathers, mothers, teachers, janitors, etc. do not go to school; they go to a/the/this... school.

Students go to school (not to the school).

My 12-year-old son went to school this morning.

My 12-year-old son went to the school this morning.

We also omit the article (the/a) when using “school” as a learning activity.

School gives a chance to children to acquire knowledge.

You should eat breakfast before school.

Fathers, mothers, teachers, janitors, etc. do not go to school; they go to a/the/this... school.

Richard’s mother went to the school to see her son’s teacher.

Richard’s mother went to school to see her son’s teacher.

Similarly, we need a determiner before “school” to talk about a specific place or building where children go to be taught.

It’s the largest school in Arlington.

1. When to Omit the Article Before ‘School’

A student goes to school to get an education. In this context, we do not use a determiner (the, a, my, etc.) before the noun “school”.

My 13-yeard-old daughter went to school this morning.

My 13-yeard-old daughter went to the school this morning.

We also omit the article to mean that a student is at school.

Jessica will be at school until noon today.

Jessica will be at the school until noon today.

Note that in these examples we think of school as a learning activity or general idea, not just a specific building or place.

School gives you a chance to socialize and make new friends.

Don’t be late for school.

Most children start school at the age of five.

It’s time to go to school.

2. When to Use a Determiner

Mothers, fathers, teachers, janitors, etc. do not go to school to learn. They go there to speak to a teacher, to work as a teacher, etc. For this reason, we add a determiner in front of the noun.

Linda’s mother went to the school to speak to her daughter’s teacher.

Linda’s mother went to school to speak to her daughter’s teacher.

My neighbor is a teacher; he works at a school near downtown.

The school is surrounded by the beautiful mountains of Appalachia.

Instead of using an article, such as “the” or “a”, you may use a possessive pronoun (his, her, my, etc.), a quantifier (many, some, etc.), a number (two, five, etc.), or an identifier (this, that, those, etc.).

My school is doing virtual learning.

Some public schools are closed on Fridays.

Students from five schools gathered for a demonstration in downtown.

The word “school” can also be used to mention a group of people who share the same ways of thinking or opinions.

Behaviorism is a major school of thought in psychology that arose during the first part of the 20th century.

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