(1) I'll look you up when I'm in town.
As I understand, "town" is the definite town which is known to both the speaker and the listener.
So "town" must have "the".
Why does it not have "the"?

my variant:
(2) I'll look you up when I'm in the town.
What is the difference between (1) and (2)?

2 Answers 2


In English, there are a number of idiomatic constructions with in that don't use the definite article. Some of these are:

in church,
in school,
in bed,
in jail,
in town,

There is really no logical way of figuring these out — you just have to memorize them. For example, you would say

I'll look you up when I'm in the city,

but with town, you leave out the defiite article.


I believe that is because, "town" is referenced as a proverbial entity, not "the town" as in a singular place. "Town", may be a continuously differing location, so long as, the intended location remains understood by both parties. Any confusion about implied location, would be met with the question, "Which town?" The answer to that question, then names "The" defenite Town.

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