Belated reply re: "the" wife

Aaron E. Drews aaron at LING.ED.AC.UK
Tue Nov 9 22:18:40 UTC 1999

I should have said "I can't think of an instance _in the UK_...."  I was
certainly "in college", or even "in school" getting a bachelor's degree a
few years ago as a state of being.  I would have been "at college" as a
location to pick up a book or to talk with one of my profs.  I don't speak
southern (except for a very occasional y'all), coming from L.A.

> And that is why we study dialects, Aaron.  Around here, a common answer to the
> query: "Well, what's Johnny doin' now that he's finished high school?" would
> "Oh, he's in college."  Now, I say common in my community--that's the
> US, NC, mountains, Watauga County, Boone to be precise.  I realize that some
> individuals might never say "in college," but some, at least a few, would.
> And I was trying to both compare and contrast "at university" and "in college"
> phrases that both indicate states of being and location.
> Maybe "in college" is a southern thing?  Any takers?  Has this been discussed
> before?

> "Aaron E. Drews" wrote:
>> Even if one were a college student (as opposed to a university student), one
>> would say "I'm at college", meaning both that "I'm a student" and "I'm
>> physically at the further education institution as I speak".   I can't think
>> of an instance when anyone would say "in university" or "in college".

Aaron E. Drews                               The University of Edinburgh      Departments of English Language and
aaron at                    Theoretical & Applied Linguistics


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