Lydbury Language Forum

General => Language Questions => Topic started by: Eleonora on October 07, 2013, 08:52:47 pm

Title: Prepositions with Pres.Perfect
Post by: Eleonora on October 07, 2013, 08:52:47 pm
Hello :) Is there any difference between these two questions -

1) Have you ever been to hospital? 

2) Have you ever been in hospital?

I appreciate your help. :)
Title: Re: Prepositions with Pres.Perfect
Post by: Darryl on October 07, 2013, 11:45:17 pm
None at all.  :)
Title: Re: Prepositions with Pres.Perfect
Post by: Eleonora on October 08, 2013, 06:43:35 am
Thank you for the answer. Yet, according to English grammar there's a difference in meaning in Present Perfect sentences containing prepositions - IN - and - TO-.What seems unusual to me here is that the question contains 'EVER', so the variant - HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN HOSPITAL?- is not clear to me in terms of understanding whether the person was in hospital or is still there???  How can you comment on it? Thank you.
Title: Re: Prepositions with Pres.Perfect
Post by: admin on October 08, 2013, 11:33:38 am
Darryl is quite correct that, in this context, both sentences mean more or less the same. But, to me, "in" would imply a stay in hospital (maybe 2 or 3 days); whereas "to" would imply a brief visit - maybe for an X-ray etc.

Normally "to" implies movement in a direction towards. E.g. - have you ever been to London? Yes, but it is a long way from Shropshire.
"In" does not normally imply movement. E.g. - I have lived in Shropshire for 28 years.

The use of the prepositions does not have anything to do with the form of the verb used.

"Ever" here, removes the thought from the recent present.

Compare: Have you ever been in hospital - yes, I had my appendix out when I was 11.
With: I haven't seen you for couple of weeks, I see you leg is in plaster. Have you been in hospital?

And: Your eye looks sore, have to been to hospital? Which almost implies: I recommend  you go to hospital to have it checked if you haven't already been.
Title: Re: Prepositions with Pres.Perfect
Post by: Darryl on October 08, 2013, 01:26:07 pm
Thank you for the answer. Yet, according to English grammar there's a difference in meaning in Present Perfect sentences containing prepositions - IN - and - TO-.What seems unusual to me here is that the question contains 'EVER', so the variant - HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN HOSPITAL?- is not clear to me in terms of understanding whether the person was in hospital or is still there???  How can you comment on it? Thank you.

'Have you ever been in hospital?' I cannot see anything here which could indicate that the person is still in hospital, or indeed, has ever been there. It is simply asking if they have.
I think the use of the word 'ever' makes your two original sentences essentially the same in meaning.
Without 'ever', the distinction that Duncan has pointed out between 'to' and 'in' applies.
Title: Re: Prepositions with Pres.Perfect
Post by: Eleonora on October 08, 2013, 10:24:24 pm
Thank you for the answers. There's one more question though - "Have you been in hospital?" Does it always mean that the person is still there, taking into account that Pres.Perfect is used?
Title: Re: Prepositions with Pres.Perfect
Post by: Darryl on October 08, 2013, 10:50:40 pm
No, definitely not.
There is no indication that the person is still there. Logic would dictate that if you ask a person 'Have you been in hospital?' they are not still there.
Perhaps if you asked 'Have you been in hospital a long time?' we could assume they are currently hospitalised.
Title: Re: Prepositions with Pres.Perfect
Post by: admin on October 09, 2013, 09:48:37 am
I agree with Darryl's last comment 100%
Title: Re: Prepositions with Pres.Perfect
Post by: Eleonora on October 10, 2013, 09:05:41 pm
Thank you for the answers :)
Title: Re: Prepositions with Pres.Perfect
Post by: Bertha on October 11, 2013, 11:52:44 am
And, in American English, articles are always used with hospitalHe was in hospital (BrE) and He was in the hospital (AmE) mean the same thing--that he was a patient in the hospital.
Title: Re: Prepositions with Pres.Perfect
Post by: admin on October 11, 2013, 12:13:59 pm
In hospital - general
In the hospital - specific. In the hospital that we were talking about before
Title: Re: Prepositions with Pres.Perfect
Post by: urban yokel on October 11, 2013, 06:00:22 pm
And, in American English, articles are always used with hospitalHe was in hospital (BrE) and He was in the hospital (AmE) mean the same thing--that he was a patient in the hospital.

Right on Bertha.

In AmE, when generality is of any concern it would be a hospital.

The injured were transported to a hospital nearby.

Outside this scenario it would always be the hospital in AmE.

Close observation in written and spoken AmE would attest to that.

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081123091709AAm9uoG

It just sounds funny without  the article—and a give away that the speaker is not American.    :)
Title: Re: Prepositions with Pres.Perfect
Post by: admin on October 11, 2013, 07:45:10 pm
Standard BrE could easily be... I've just been in hospital

I haven't seen you for weeks.
I've been in hospital.
Title: Re: Prepositions with Pres.Perfect
Post by: Darryl on October 11, 2013, 11:19:02 pm
And, in American English, articles are always used with hospitalHe was in hospital (BrE) and He was in the hospital (AmE) mean the same thing--that he was a patient in the hospital.

Interesting. AusE would side with the BrE usage here.
He was in hospital for several weeks.
I assume the differences only relate to hospitals. I guess Am E accept the omission of the articles in:
He was in gaol for three months.
He arrived at school before 8 am.
His appearance in court was much anticipated.
Title: Re: Prepositions with Pres.Perfect
Post by: admin on October 12, 2013, 11:25:11 am
Good to have an across-the-pond feedback on that Darryl.

I know - it depends which pond we are talking about  8)