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I want to know which of these is correct

When did Rob leave for office?

Or

When did Rob leave to office?

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  • leave for the office but leave for school or work.
    – Lambie
    Jan 29, 2020 at 14:46

3 Answers 3

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Neither are correct, as you're missing a word. With the word "the" I would expect the former:

When did Rob leave for the office?

You leave for somewhere. You can also leave to do something:

When did Rob leave to find the office?

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The choice of preposition often depends on the particular word (verb or adjective) that governs the phrase; unfortunately there is little logic or pattern to these. So

Go takes a to phrase, and can take a from phrase

Come takes a from phrase, and can take a to phrase

Leave takes a direct object (the place left) and takes a for phrase (the destination). It can also take a from phrase, typically specifying more precisely than the direct object where the journey starts.

Arrive takes an at phrase, and can take a from phrase

So When did Rob leave for the office? is grammatical and natural.

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Leave, a verb, means to go away from someone or something.

We generally may go away to do something [perform, such as, to skydive, to drive, to play, etc.(verbs)] or, toward something [a location, such as, a country, a park, etc.(nouns)]. And, since the object(office) in your example is indeed a noun, the only possible preposition can be for.

Thus,

When did Rob leave for the office?

Yes, the article the before office is imperative, to signify that specific place.

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  • While your point is correct in your last sentence - the is required - your argument doesn't work. When did Rob leave for church is a specific case, and is quite normal. It isn't the meaning that requires the, it's that English syntax requires an article before a singular count noun, apart from some specific exceptions (such as churcn).
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 29, 2020 at 16:05
  • With all due respect, Sir, I will have to disagree. For, the example you have cited, church, isn't necessarily being directed toward one, "specific" place (a noun), but also hints at a "veiled" verb for the act of praying. Like, the other instances (school & work), wherein the article isn't required, suggests similar use of logic. As those nouns too, are applied for their actions. The first being for the act of receiving education, and the latter, for performing tasks. Also, the noun, church can have articles associated with it in different situations.
    – Bao
    Jan 30, 2020 at 17:28
  • so you're suggesting that church (and school and work) with that meaning becomes an uncountable noun? Maybe: I'll have to think about that.
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 30, 2020 at 20:53

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