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There are two sentences in Betty S. Azar grammar book that I can't get exact meaning of those.

  1. Did you drive to the doctor's office?
  2. Did you go to a doctor?

First, what is "doctor's office"? and Where do we call Doctor's office.

Second, what is the difference between those sentences meaning?

I appreciate your help.

  • In BrE (but not so much in AmE, I think), we're more likely to refer to the doctor's surgery. But whether or not to explicitly include a noun (as opposed to asking, for example, Have you been to the doctor['s]?) largely depends on whether you're thinking in terms of the physical location, or the person you might see there. Often that's a fine nuance where it really doesn't make any difference which way you express yourself. – FumbleFingers Nov 15 '17 at 19:13
  • The first sentence asks if you actually drove a car to the location where the doctor works (The doctor's office). The second is asking if you have seen a doctor - implying that there is something wrong with you and that you had reason to do so. Internally, I transpose the second sentence to: "Did you see a doctor?" – Michael Dorgan Nov 15 '17 at 19:44
  • Google Ngrams shows that "doctor's office" is more common than "doctor's surgery", even in British English. If there is a difference, a hospital doctor might have an office but see all the patients in the wards. – Sydney Nov 15 '17 at 21:09
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    I don't trust Google Ngrams to distinguish accurately between BrE and AmE. I don't think Ngrams shows anything about the relevant frequency in BrE. NGrams would have us believe that in BrE, "honor" and "humor" are outnumbered 4:1 and 3:1 respectively by "honour" and "humour". I am pretty sure the truth is closer to 99:1. Anyway, in BrE a hospital doctor has an "office", whereas a family doctor or GP has a "surgery" (where surgery is not performed) (though a surgery could contain several rooms, some called offices). Also in BrE, a surgeon takes the title "Mr", while a GP takes the title "Dr". – rjpond Nov 15 '17 at 22:11
  • GloWbE (the corpus of Web-based English) disagrees. It shows "doctor's surgery' a little more common than "doctor's office" in GB (110:100), IE (28:23), and AU (50:48). In NZ it has about a third the frequency (9:23) and everywhere else it hardly occurs. – Colin Fine Nov 16 '17 at 0:26
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Doctor's office is a private place owned by a doctor (or several doctors) where medical visits to doctors take place. It usually consists of a waiting room and an examination room and patients should pay for doctor's visit to be examined by the doctor.

About the difference between these two sentences, I think the second one is a general question asked from someone to see whether he/she has visited a doctor for his/her illness. (The place where a doctor is working is not important here. It can be an office, a hospital, a clinic or ...)

About the first question, I think it highly depends on the answer. The person who asks the question may want to know if you have gone to the office using a car:

Did you drive to the doctor's office?

Or to be sure that the place you have driven, has been the doctor's office (not anywhere else):

Did you drive to the doctor's office?

  • Probably most doctors are not the only owner of the "office" and many work for a hospital or clinic. That is a minor issue. I think the important thing is that we need context to understand the reason drive is stated explicitly. There is no need to say drive explicitly unless there is something more that is not stated here. – user34660 Sep 18 '18 at 23:43
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A doctor's office is a facility where you can visit a medical doctor for consultation or minor procedures. For example, family doctors, dermatologists, and urologists would usually be seen in a doctor's office. Major surgeries usually do not occur at a doctor's office, but instead, take place in the operation room of a hospital. However, a surgeon would usually have an office where he could see patients before or after their surgery. The term "doctor's office" is usually used to talk about a place where patients are welcome; if a doctor did not work with patients, like an epidemiologist, then the place where he worked would just be called something like a "lab" or a "medical facility."

The term "doctor's" is just a shorter way of referring to a doctor's office.

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