I have run across such a sentence:

Yesterday I was ill, so I went to the doctor's.

What is the function of possessive here, that is doctor's?

  • Usually, it's "I went to a doctor" or "I visited a doctor" Commented May 31, 2017 at 13:35
  • 4
    I would say it's short for "the doctor's office."
    – Hellion
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 13:36
  • @ SovereignSun "a doctor" is fine if you mean any doctor, but use of the definite article "the" would be more common here, since the reference is probably to a specific doctor.
    – Vekzhivi
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 15:14
  • @Vekzhivi Yeh, you are right. Commented May 31, 2017 at 15:38
  • see ell.stackexchange.com/a/73638/3463 Commented May 31, 2017 at 15:42

1 Answer 1


This type of possessive is commonly used to refer to a particular shop, or something similar to a shop like a doctor's surgery or a dental clinic. The pattern being used is: [somebody's] [place] (e.g. butcher's shop) and the unnecessary [place] is often left off for brevity. You will often hear the following used:

I'm going to the:

  • doctor's (doctor's surgery)
  • dentist's (dental clinic)
  • butcher's (butcher's shop)
  • baker's (bakery)
  • (green)grocer's (grocer's shop)
  • barber's (barber's shop)
  • hairdresser's (hairdressing salon)
  • 2
    We use it in the US, too...
    – Catija
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 15:03
  • @Catija Thanks, I wasn't sure whether it was a British thing, I'll remove BrE from my answer.
    – SteveES
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 15:12

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