"The University" vs. "University" Which do you use?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by tsaxer, Sep 30, 2005.

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  1. tsaxer macrumors regular

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    #1
    Hello all, I have a linguistic question to pose to our international community of English speakers. Do you use "the" in front of University (or a variation, i.e. Uni) to speak of a particular one? And when you speak about it, how do you conceptualize it? Is it an instituion, a place, a person (of sorts)?

    I first started wondering about this when I met some of my Brit and Aussie friends and noticed they had a different way of referring to it than I did. Anyway, if anyone can give their personal experience that would help me, thanks.
     
  2. Abstract macrumors Penryn

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  3. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040

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    #3
    doesn't it depend on the school? for instance... THE Ohio state university and THE george washington university.

    some schools make a big deal about putting the "the" in the name

    this of course being for american schools
     
  4. tsaxer thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    Yeah, I am really going for the international influence on the usage, and when we use the word "university" to refer to it as an abstract noun, not a proper name (The University of Alabama).
     
  5. GilGrissom macrumors 65816

    GilGrissom

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    I use "uni" or "university", no "the"! When talking to people about uni's where there are multiple Universities in question I refer to them by their place/location/other part of their title, such as Staffordshire, Derby, Nottingham, Birmingham (Uni)...etc etc.

    I've never heard anyone here say "the University", and its usually spoken as a place, or an institution.

    I guess it could be because that our Universities here have their location or other part of the name first, such as "Staffordshire University" and not "University of Staffordshire". I know we have some uni's which do it that way in the UK, but its mostly "University" being the last part of the name, therefore needs no "the"!

    Hope this makes sense! :confused:
     
  6. Heb1228 macrumors 68020

    Heb1228

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    #6
    Its more common to refer to universities by their initials. For instance, the University of Virginia is UVA, the University of Texas is UT or just Texas. It just depends on how formal the context is in which you are speaking/writing.
     
  7. 20rogersc macrumors 65816

    20rogersc

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    #7
    Well, in two years time I'm hoping to go to 'Uni'

    ::20ROGERSC::
     
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn

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    Yeah baby, glad I'm not alone on this predominantly American board.

    I guess it depends on whether you're talking to people who go to the same Uni or not. I'm not going to tell my friends, "Hey guys, I'm going to the University today." I say, "Hey, I'm going to Uni."

    If I'm talking to strangers, then sure, I'll tell them that I go to the University of XYZ. If I was going to "(City's Name) University," I wouldn't include "the" before it.
     
  9. mpw Guest

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    #9
    Depends on the context.

    Me asking someone on the street in Oxford;

    "Do you go to university?" = Would make sense
    “Do you go to the university?” = Would make sense but I assuming the respondent would understand the context of my question as we’re in Oxford.
    “Where is the university?” = Again would make sense only with an understanding of context assumed by location.
    “Where is university?” = Wouldn’t make sense.
     
  10. Koodauw macrumors 68040

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    #10
    Only those from THE Ohio State University use "The" in the title. I guess it shows "the" level of education they receive there :rolleyes:
     
  11. mac-er macrumors 65816

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    #11
    When referring to the specific place, everyone I know says, "I'm going to the University" or "I went to the University to study"

    If referring to it in general, they say "I'm in college" or "I go to college" (eg, if you ask someone what they do).
    I've never heard anyone say "I'm in university", or "I'm at university", or "I'm going to university".

    My experience is that people I know use "University" when referring to a specific institution (and they always use "the" in front of it) and they use "college" more generically. Never heard someone say "uni" in the US.

    BTW, university should only be capitalized (in the US) when referring to a specific university (ie replacing the university's name with the word 'university')
     
  12. dejo Moderator

    dejo

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    #12
    A Canadian's perspective: When referring to the actual institution, I would add 'The', as in "I graduated from The University of Alberta". But when describing the time frame I was enrolled, it's just 'university', as in "during university..." This is one big difference I've found between Americans and Canadians: Americans, no matter where they went, refer to it as 'college', whether it was Harvard or Smalltown Community College. In Canada, if you went to a university, you say 'university', because 'college' is seemingly a step-below.
     
  13. Abstract macrumors Penryn

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    #13
    Ah yes, but what if you went to McGill or McMaster? :p
     
  14. dxm113 macrumors member

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    #14
    IIRC:

    OSU originally started a lawsuit / namechange to distinguish itself from "Ohio University", however they have since dropped the legal battle to change its name to "THE OSU".

    Just OSU now . . .
     
  15. joepunk macrumors 68030

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    #15
    I just say "University." "The" sounds repetitive to me sometimes.

    I guess I shall have to try using "Uni" at some point in my career as a student.
     
  16. GilGrissom macrumors 65816

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    Absolutely. Using "the" would imply the university at your present location, as you say. Generically, its usually just "university", (especially if your current location has its own university but you are talking about all unis or another uni at a different location!).

    Between friends its always "uni" anyway.

    This is getting confusing! Thinking I should take an English module at "uni" :p
     
  17. dotcomlarry macrumors regular

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    #17
    No, I'm not an international, but it seems from the responses that even American readers don't all do it the same way. When I refer to physically going to the university I attended (FSU), I'd say that I was going on campus. Now, my school's official name is "The Florida State University" but most refer to it as Florida State, FSU, or Florida State University (dropping "the"). However, in this town there are two universities so if you say you are in/go to/at "university" (with or without "the") there could be some confusion, so generally when asked, one says which university one goes to.

    Hope that's not too confusing.
     
  18. Hoef macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania
     
  19. Toppa G's macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Egad! My head is spinning

    I concur with mac-er. The name of the institution I attend is the University of Wisconsin-Stout. When speaking with someone who may not know the University of Wisconsin system, I say the full name, i.e. "I'm a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stout," otherwise, I say "I'm a senior at UW-Stout." (note the lack of "the") Conversationally with people who know I'm going to that particular place, I'll say "I'm in college," or "I'm headed back to school." The word university definitely seems to be reserved for the proper names of insitutions of higher education, rather than used conversationally to refer generally to said institutions. :confused:
     
  20. mac-er macrumors 65816

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    #20
    A university is just made up of several colleges.
     
  21. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

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    #21
    it doesn't matter for me, i don't go to a university, i go to a college :rolleyes:
     
  22. GilGrissom macrumors 65816

    GilGrissom

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    #22
    "a" college and not just "college", eh??!! hehe :p :rolleyes:
     
  23. njstaffer macrumors regular

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    #23
    I would say neither! I mostly use initials, like OSU or OU, and the name for some private schools, like Baylor and Standford.
     
  24. tsaxer thread starter macrumors regular

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    #24
    OK, well, what if you wanted to find out if someone had a degree, how would you say:
    Did you go to _?_ university? Would you use an "a"?
     
  25. w_parietti22 macrumors 68020

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    #25
    "The University" for a Local/close by University (for example: at the unversity . (Where my Apple store is)

    "Unversity" for far away.
     
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