Even though I am an American, I enjoy watching British movies and TV shows now and again. Anything from Monty Python to Masterpiece Theater. I often hear a strange (at least to me) sounding word usage that I have always wondered about.
When I was in the UK on business I asked someone about it and got a terse "that’s just the way we say it " with no further explanation. It has to do with the phase "in hospital’, as in “John is in hospital this week”. The article ‘the’ is normally dropped.
My question isn’t why didn’t American English pick this up, but rather does it happen with other nouns too?
For example, is John sometimes “in car” or “in house”? I can’t remember hearing it being used that way before, and it if isn’t what is so special about the word “hospital” that makes the definite article “the” unnecessary in this one case?