When we’re talking about visiting a doctor’s office and using the preposition “at the,” you might be a bit confused about the language rules that surround it. This article will explore whether “at the doctor” or “at the doctor’s” is correct.
Is It “At The Doctor” Or “At The Doctor’s”?
“At the doctor’s” is correct to use because it’s a short version of saying “at the doctor’s office.” We use the apostrophe because the “office” is in possession of the “doctor.” Using “at the doctor” is incorrect because it doesn’t specify the ownership of the office.
It might seem strange, especially since we’re using a possessive noun without any possessed object, but you have to understand something about colloquial and informal English rules.
We would almost always use the phrase “at the doctor’s” in spoken English. When we do this, we’re saying that we’re “at the doctor’s office.” In spoken English, the rules are relaxed, meaning we can drop “office” to keep the sentence streamlined.
However, just because we drop “office” doesn’t mean we drop the possessive form of “doctor.” We still want to indicate that we’re at the office, which is why it’s correct to use it in this way.
Is “At The Doctor” Or “At The Doctor’s” Used The Most?
We’ve already established that using the singular form of “doctor” in this way is incorrect, but we have some statistics that we need to explain to help you understand it more.
According to Google Ngram Viewer, “at the doctor” is used most. However, this is due to the way Google Ngram Viewer processes their books and information, and “at the doctor” results also include “at the doctor’s.”
Unfortunately, these results are skewed because “at the doctor’s” is included in both examples. However, if we were to theoretically remove “at the doctor’s” results from the “at the doctor” line, then it would be clear that “at the doctor’s” is the more popular choice.
What Does “At The Doctor” Mean?
“At the doctor” isn’t a correct phrase. It’s not something that any native speaker would use, though they would definitely understand what you’re saying if you use it. However, there are instances where “at the” works as the preposition here.
“At the doctor” means we’re doing something and directing it towards the doctor. “At the” means that the “doctor” is receiving our action.
As you can see, the meaning of this phrase is vastly different than saying “at the doctor’s,” which is why it’s never correct in that way.
What Does “At The Doctor’s” Mean?
“At the doctor’s” means that we’re visiting the doctor’s office for some reason. Usually, we’ll do this when we have a medical problem that might need some kind of attention.
“At the doctor’s” is the only correct way to say that you’re visiting a doctor’s office. While it seems like the possessive form is incorrect to use with “doctor” here, it’s the only form that all native speakers will recognize as the correct one.
Examples Of How To Use “At The Doctor” In A Sentence
There aren’t many instances where you will use “at the doctor” as a preposition and object choice. The only time we can ever get it to work is if we include a verb before it to talk about the action that we’re targeting the doctor with.
- I was talking at the doctor for hours.
- I was looking at the doctor, and he wouldn’t stop smiling.
- I was staring at the doctor like an idiot!
“At the doctor” only works when we include a verb before it. It’s a rare sentence construct, which is why we avoided including too many examples.
Examples Of How To Use “At The Doctor’s” In A Sentence
“At the doctor’s” is the main focus of this article, so we”ll include a few extra examples here. Each example will show you how “at the doctor’s” works in a casual way.
- I’m really sorry, but I’ve been at the doctor’s all day!
- I’m at the doctor’s, so I don’t know when I’ll be home.
- She’s at the doctor’s. She told me by text.
- He’s at the doctor’s right now; can I take a message?
- You’re not at the doctor’s, though! Where are you?
“At the doctor’s” works when we want to say that we or someone we know is physically located at the doctor’s office.
Is It Ever Correct To Use “At The Doctors”?
“At the doctor’s” is the correct choice in most forms of writing, though it’s still a colloquial choice. There is one other way we might see it, and that’s when the apostrophe is removed completely.
“At the doctors” is not correct, but it works when you use it in texts. There are very few English rules that you need to follow when writing texts, especially to friends, so the apostrophe can be dropped in this case.
When used in a text without the apostrophe, the idea is still the same.
- Written English:I’m at the doctor’s.
- Text English:I’m at the doctors.
“At The Doctor” And “At The Doctor’s” – Synonyms
Some synonyms might help you if you’re struggling with the differences between these forms. While the possessive form is the only correct form, you might still benefit from learning one of these.
- At the doctor’s office
- Visiting the doctor’s office
- At the clinic
- At the healthcare clinic
- At the healthcare provider
There aren’t many good synonyms when replacing “at the doctor’s” because it works so well in informal English. If you want to use it formally, we suggest “at the doctor’s office.”
Is It Ever Correct To Use “By The Doctor” Or “With The Doctor?
“By the doctor” and “with the doctor” are both correct, but they’re dependent on the context when you use them.
“By the doctor” works when the doctor has administered something to you by their own hands. “With the doctor” works when we’re doing something alongside the doctor of with the doctor’s help.
- I was given this medicine by the doctor.
- I was waiting with the doctor to find out my results.