Absence of the articles in set expressions
In these set expressions nouns combine with prepositions or verbs and acquire a new shade of meaning, expressing an adverbial relation, a state or a process. Concrete count nouns lose their nominal meaning. Thus He isin bed may mean He is ill, or He is asleep, or He is not up. But we say: There were no chairs enough and we sat onthe bed.
My brother goesto school (college) means He learns there. However, if we mean the building or the institution, we use an article according to the general rules, as in: We shall meet atthe school. The school isn't far from our home. Ours is a verygood school. Parents are regularly invited tothe school.
The noun town without an article means the nearest big centre of population as contrasted to the country or a smaller town, it may also denote the central part of a big town, as opposed to its suburbs.
To be at sea may mean "far away from the land" or (figuratively) "to feel puzzled"; to go to sea is "to become a sailor". But we say: The swimmer jumped into the sea. We lived near the sea, etc.
No article is used as a rule when two notions, very closely related, are mentioned, as in:
They looked like mother and daughter.
We are no longer boy and girl.
It’s no use interfering into a quarrel between husband and wife.
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