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My friend drove his car through a car wash.

In this case, it's hard, especially if you're a non-native speaker, to know if car wash refers to the action or the place where the action is performed. What do you think about this? I am really confused.

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It's a location (noun): https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/car%20wash

Think of other terms you could replace "car wash" with in this sentence:

My friend drove his car through a tunnel.

My friend drove his car through a parking lot.

My friend drove his car through a gas station.

These are all places and therefore nouns. It wouldn't make any sense to have an action (verb) in that part of the sentence. to wash a car is certainly an action, but a car wash is a place where cars are washed.

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    Just to add to this, the verb would be something like "get (my) car washed" – Andrew Mar 1 at 5:59

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