At night vs. in the night & Go to school vs. go to the theatre


Could you shed some light for me on?:

At night vs. in the night

What is the difference or no difference at all?

Thank you!

He usually goes out at night. He died in a rainy, windy night. I think so.

He died on a rainy, windy night.

just like: He died on a tuesday.


‘At night’ suggests that it is dark and getting towards the end of the day in contrast to ‘in the evening’ as in: We usually go out to a restaurant in the evening but we don’t like to be out too late at night because we have to get up early next morning. ‘In the night’ suggests when most people are asleep as in: We heard a terrible noise in the night when a tree blew down in the garden and it woke everybody in the house.


Thank you very much again, Alan.

Hi Alan,

In go to school/church/etc., shcool, church and the like would be considered as “functional means”, thereby being without an article. However, in go to the theatre, the definite article is there.

Is it because there was likely one theatre in town but there were many schools and churches? Or theatre cannot be regared as functional means but a kind of entertainment against other entertainments?

Thank you!

You go to the theatre to meet a friend but go to theatre to see a play.

Another load of half baked nonsense VW. The article is essential in that sentence.

You really are becoming irksome.

Thank you, Mr Kitosdad, for the clarification.

Hi Haihao,

You make some valid points but I’m not so sure about the one theatre in town. The absence of the article with ‘to school’ ‘to church’ ‘to work’ is really an indication that the phrases are almost an extension of the verb and consecutively they mean ‘study’ ‘pray’ ‘work’ and so on… The retention of the article with ‘to the theatre’ ‘to the cinema’ ‘to the circus’ and so on indicates that these are particular activities and can’t be subsumed into the verb.


Hi Alan,

Thank you so much. “These are particular activities and can’t be subsumed into the verb.” explains everything to me!