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Hi,

I have difficulty using such phrases as "outside of church/school" and "outside of the church/school." When do you out the "the" there and when not? Thank you for your anticipated help.
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BelieverCan you tell me when to use these two phrases, "outside the school" and "outside of the school"? When do you keep the article 'the' and when not?

I saw several cats meowing outside the school (outside of the school??).
Hi Believer

CJ just told you in his post when to use the and when to leave it out. There is no difference between outside and outside of. It may be a good idea to avoid outside of because some grammarians consider it nonstandard or even incorrect. You never need it anyway.

CB
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Dear Believer,

As you have seen in the earlier posts,

"Outside of" could mean:
- besides (e.g., Outside of a dog, a goose is a good home guard).
- beyond (e.g., Outside of that small circle of friends).
- not within the responsibility of (e.g., Activities outside of school = things students learn and do that are not provided by school).

"Outside w/o of" is used with a physical space (e.g., Play outside the house - not in here!).

Hope that helps,
Hoa Thai
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Comments  
BelieverHi,

I have difficulty using such phrases as "outside of church/school" and "outside of the church/school." When do you out the "the" there and when not? Thank you for your anticipated help.

Outside the church = near, but not in the church. [We had the meeting outside the church, in the garden.]

Outside of church = not within the responsibility of the church. [We shouldn't talk about the minister outside of church.]
The preposition, whether it is outside of or something else, has nothing to do with it.

the church, the school, the city hall, etc., are all concrete. They are physical entities -- buildings, places.
church, school, city hall, etc., are all abstract. They are words that represent institutions and the activities of institutions.

The city hall is located at the corner of Maple and Elm.
You can't fight city hall!

The school is a very large building.
We learn a lot in school every day.

The Jones family helped paint the church.
On Easter the Jones family was in church.


CJ
Thank you, Philip and CalifJim.

Can you tell me when to use these two phrases, "outside the school" and "outside of the school"? When do you keep the article 'the' and when not?

I saw several cats meowing outside the school (outside of the school??).
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 Cool Breeze's reply was promoted to an answer.
 Hoa Thai's reply was promoted to an answer.