Reading this article, there is a line say,

“So if you want to hear about $15 an hour and health care, Senator Sanders will be speaking downtown,” Clark added. “But if you would like to make at least $15 an hour and have good health care, Amazon is hiring.”

So I assume this CEO of the world wide division of Amazon is saying Sanders will speak about the lowest wage and the health care, at downtown, which is defined by Merriam

1: of, relating to, or located in the lower part or business center of a city or town

Why isn't there the preposition "at"?

Googling by "speak downtown meaning" didn't produce anything so I think this is not an idiom.

Thank you for your time in advance(m_m).

  • 1
    Good question! My assumption is that, though "downtown" a single, unhyphenated, word, colloquial English treats it as preposition/noun. For example, "He's speaking down East," is acceptable New Hampshire parlance. Otherwise, I cannot think of indicating location without a preposition, e.g., "speaking from home," "speaking at school," "speaking in camera,..." Mar 26, 2021 at 1:54

2 Answers 2


"Uptown" and "downtown" don't take additional prepositions before them. Nor do "upstairs," "downstairs," "inside," and "outside." This is probably because these started as separate words (up+town, down+stairs), and therefore the prepositional need is met by "up"/"down"/"in"/"out"

The bedrooms are located upstairs.

She works downtown.

  • Do you have any references for the idea that “upstairs” started as “up the stairs” etc.? I’d be interested to read more about that sort of evolution.
    – ColleenV
    Mar 28, 2021 at 10:55

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, downtown can be an adjective or an adverb. Here is one of the example sentences, where it is an adverb that modifies the verb work:

I work downtown, but I live in the suburbs

In the sentence that you quoted, downtown is an adverb that modifies the verb speaking.

Merriam-webster offers two main usages- as adjective and noun- but later on it does mention the possibility of using downtown as an adjective, however it doesn't provide any examples.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .