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You cough a lot today.

  1. Go to the doctor today.
  2. Go to see a doctor today.
  3. Go to see the doctor today.

Which one is suitable? What are the differences among them? Does 'the doctor' mean 'the family doctor'?

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They all mean the same thing, though the wording may depend on the person's speech style.

  • Go to the doctor today -- I would use this as it's the shortest and quickest to say. Literally means to make a trip to the hospital.
  • Go see a/the doctor today -- using "see" gives a stronger implication of "meet with" the doctor. Saying "a" instead of "the" doctor slightly implies that you should go see any doctor regardless of who it is.

Does 'the doctor' mean 'the family doctor'?

Not necessarily. In context, the listener will assume that they should see the appropriate doctor for what symptoms they are experiencing. For example, if someone has a sinus infection, they might see an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, throat doctor), even if you just said "go to the doctor"

As a side note, "go to the doctor" sounds slightly strong. I might say something like "you should go see a doctor".

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