Consider these

that's what I learned at school

that's the major I learned at University

she works at home

How many people are working at Microsoft

In those examples "at school", "at home", "at University", there is no article between "at" and "noun".

What are the rules for that? one of them is "at + proper noun", what else?

  • I think we have to memorize such phrases. Although there might be some explanations for other usages of the articles, such sort-of-fixed phrases should be memorized. – Cardinal May 19 at 23:10

No article is used before 'home' in general sense. But "At the home" is something different. There must have been a specific home you have talked about earlier.

The definite article 'the' isn't used before the places such as 'university'/'college', 'prison'/'jail', 'hospital', and church, when we think of these places in general terms :

e.g., "That's what I learned at school."

However, you may use the definite article 'the' when you have a context that may clarify the use of the article :

e.g., "I had studied at St. Stephen's School, and that's what I learned at the school.

Similarly, the same grammatical rules apply to others.

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This has little to do with the preposition at and more to do with the way the nouns are being used.

A noun like school can be used two different ways:

  1. As a concrete noun referring to a physical building (or complex of buildings) in the real world. "The father went to the school to meet his daughter's teacher."
  2. As an abstract noun referring to the general concept or activity of primary learning. "Most American children go to school for twelve years."

Abstract nouns use no article, whether they are in a prepositional phrase or not:

  • School was difficult for him.
  • She spends most of her day at school.
  • Hurry up or you'll be late for school.

Concrete nouns do use an article, whether they are in a prepositional phrase or not:

  • A school is being built downtown.
  • The school is on fire!
  • I will meet you later behind the school.

Proper names, as you note, also do not use articles:

  • Microsoft released three new products today.
  • I got a job at Microsoft.

Note that home is always an abstract noun, except in the meaning of a convalescent or retirement home. A house or an apartment is a concrete place, but home is the abstract concept of place being a primary residence.

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