Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Prom

I am trying to figure something out here and I need input.

There are lots of movies where the characters refer to their Senior Prom as "going to Prom."

The other night Lauren and I were watching TV and one of the people on the show said something about "going to prom".

Lauren turned to me and asked, "Why do people say going to Prom? We always referred to it as going to THE Prom."

I agreed. We say The Prom.

Now I am not sure if saying going to The Prom is a regional phrase, like "down the shore" is a regional thing instead of "going to the beach".

How do you say it? Prom or the Prom?

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

Prom is short for Promenade which means... You are Gay.

Amy said...

I grew up in Central PA. We said going to THE Prom too. SO it could be a regional thing...I hope so...I Love being regional...

Anonymous said...

Around our house, we are getting ready for THE prom right now.

Bogart in P Towne said...

Going to Prom or Going to The Prom...both were acceptable.

Dawn said...

We don't have "Prom" here, we have a graduation, although I assume they are pretty much the same thing. But, if we had it, I think we would say "The Prom" because we say "The Grad" for graduation...I live in Newfoundland, Cananda. :)

Carmen said...

I agree - should be THE prom. But explain to me why 95% of the population says that someone is in the hospital, but every newscaster will say that someone is in hospital. Where did the "the" go? Where? It drives me bananas!

Teri said...

the Prom.

I think the folks who leave "the" out are just being lazy.

Devon said...

We always said The Prom, but I'm in Western PA, so it could still be regional. Come to think of it, I think that's one of the things my "non-PA" friends brought up in college. Kind of like "taking a shower" vs. "getting a shower," or "pop" vs. "soda."

tricki_nicki said...

Just prom, short and simple - here in Seattle anyway. "The prom" is the way old people say it. ;)

Alysia said...

Prom.

Aunt Jo said...

The Prom.

Now I am going to grocery.

Anonymous said...

THE prom...but along the same lines...why do people say they are standing ON line instead of IN line??

Anne said...

In Ohio... it's The Prom.

melissa said...

I would guess that it might be sort of regional. I just assumed that people that go to "prom" had multiple opportunities to do so. Such as a junior and senior prom, whereas those going to "THE prom" only get one chance to go. I could also just be making that up.

sari said...

This is kind of like "The O.C."

I went to high school in Orange County and I can tell you, I never heard ANYone ever call it "The O.C." Idiotic.

PS I would say "the" prom.

Lowa said...

We always just called it "Grad". As in short for Graduation. It was once a year and it was for the people who were graduating. They are called 'Grade 12s" or "Grads". So I guess I can't really help you with this! LOL

In this country it appears that there is more than one Prom a year?? I still don't get it. Kids around here appear to call it either though. The Prom, or just Prom. It is obvious it is a "Prom", I would think; so am not sure why a "the" needs to be in front of it. Just like with our Grad. It was just Grad.

a husband said...

I definitely went to the prom (and I come from west-coast origins). I have this theory about T.V. "teen" language though:

Since television is written by adults, then the language of the teenager on television is always going to be a generation or so behind because the writer is writing what they know, and not what teens know now. (And the kids playing the parts can't help because they're raised on the set.)

I mean, does anybody call it "gym" or "phys-ed" anymore? All I hear is "P.E."

Just thinking.

Melinda said...

The Prom.
I equally don't like 'in future'. Should be 'in the future'. That was in a TV ad here, that drove me up the wall every time it came on. My husband says it now just to annoy me.

Sharpie said...

The Prom - but, I am from NorthEast area - and according to others, we sound strange. What do they know??

SciFi Dad said...

In Ontario, both phrases were common.

But, thanks for pointing out the discrepancy. Now I'll spend all day wondering who used which phrase to see if there's a pattern there.

Kim said...

I noticed that too...up in MA it's THE prom

Claudia said...

I can't say - - this coming from someone who says "I have off today" instead of "I have the DAY off today" - - I suppose they both work, right? Prom is Prom. It's where you lose THE virginity. Right? ;)

kalki said...

I think both were said here in Redneck Valley, but definitely "going to Prom" was much more common. But for other dances we would say, "I'm going to the dance." I think the difference is that there was only one prom, and so it became a proper noun (capital P Prom). Like saying I'm going to Target, not I'm going to the Target.

Anonymous said...

Well thank you for bringing this up yesterday...apparently my son is going to "The" prom, and it's next Friday. These things are nice to know when one has to rent a tux and get the girl flowers!!!

Boys. Why must they be so difficult.

Emily said...

grew up in central Texas and and said "going to prom"

Circus Kelli said...

The Prom in Northern IL.

Kelly said...

In Oklahoma we leave out the "the." and just say "prom." Of course I'm not sure Okies should be looked to as an example of being well spoken!;)

Anonymous said...

Do you go to work or THE work? School or THE school? College or THE college. You get the idea.

Scarlett Wanna Be said...

I said "the prom", Big Daddy didn't say anything. He was home schooled, but he has assured me that even if he did go to public school, he wouldn't have gone to "the prom" because, "they are stupid and a ridiculous waste of money!" Deep down inside, I know his heart hurts that he never experienced going to "the prom".

Jen said...

"The Prom"

Dad Stuff said...

In the midwest it's The Prom. Luckily, we have a few more years to sort it out before our kids go.

Panistapsa said...

In Texas . . . The Prom

Jared said...

I've always heard it said... "Going to Prom". But I grew up in a hick town where it actually sounds like..."Goin' ta Prom"

Sharkey said...

Apparently, I am too old to remember whether I went to Prom or The Prom. I think in MN the terms might be interchangeable.

I never go to The Acme, but I will admit to occasionally stopping at The Wawa.

Effie said...

THE prom....my boyfriend had to go to a funeral that day, so I ended up going with a girl...still fun...

Anonymous said...

In the DC area we say "going to prom" but I don't think anyone would belittle you for saying "the prom."

Also, we had a homecoming dance each year and always said, "are you going to homecoming?" No "the."

Prom no longer sounds like a real word to me after reading so many comments about it. Know what I mean?

Moi said...

It was always just prom. Everyone knew which prom it was, so the article became moot.

How fancy am I for saying article?

Rustacular said...

In Vancouver, BC. we didn't have Prom, or the Prom. We had Grad. Not the Grad, just Grad. I'm sure if it was a Prom instead, it would be just Prom.

Ever notice when you use a word over and over -like Prom- it starts to lose it's meaning and sound like a made up word?

Ilanna said...

I think either one works.

"The prom" refers to the dance you are going to attend - the party.

just "to prom" means you are going to an activity - like "i'm going to soccer" - you don't say "the soccer practice" you just say "soccer or soccer practice" - so i figure either way works.

TennesseeDreamer said...

It was just "Prom" for us, but that could be a southern thing. Although I had a friend whose grandmother always said she needed asprin because she had "the headache".

Amanda said...

The prom.

Julie said...

Grew up in the DC area and we would say just prom.

thelairoftheplatypus said...

Such things have reached the UK now and are becoming quite widespread. Here it's "The Prom" too.

Cathy said...

I grew up in Illinois and never went to Prom.

raisingtheboys said...

The Prom. Not to be confused with The Semi.

My husband and I have had a similar conversation of "playing catch" or "having a catch."

Diane said...

Since I avoided any and all occasions which meant I would have to wear a dress and get my hair done, I don't remember the title of the celebration being talked about.

One of the girls in my acquaintance had a baby at Christmastime that year.

MrsDoF

creative-type dad said...

Out here (L.A.) it's just called Prom.
But down south in "the OC" I can see them saying "the prom", just like they say "the divorce" or "the therapist"

Stacie said...

THE Prom. For sure.

Renee in Seattle said...

When I was in HS, we were going to Senior Prom, and Homecoming, not The Senior Prom, or The Homecoming.

I grew up in Seattle.

Anonymous said...

In Florida, depends on usage.

"Are you going to the prom?"

"Yes, I'm going to prom."

... I don't think that clarifies anything, lol.

~J

Carrie said...

I'm from jersey and went to THE prom. or I should say the promS... as we had junior and senior ones.

though, thinking back, I should say I went to the "gathering of ridiculously dressed and big-haired teenagers dancing to 80's music."

just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

I'm English - we go to "the ball"...!

rudecactus said...

I'm pretty sure I use the definite article. But I can't tell you for sure.

Michelle said...

mUnless you are staring in a John Hughes movie circ 9185, IT IS the Prom.

kcinnova said...

I grew up near Seattle, and we always said THE Prom.
My oldest hasn't done THE Prom yet, so I don't know what it is these days. It could be laziness to drop the "THE"...or it could be regional.

Gus and Pete's mom said...

We always said THE prom here in NJ. I think the first time I heard of going to prom was watching the movie Pretty in Pink. Molly Ringwald's character says, "But what about prom Blaine!!"

Chadwick said...

So far as I know - It's "The Prom" here in Atlanta. But I'm 15 years removed from the last one I went to and thank goodness, I'm another 7 or 8 away from my daughters going to theirs. So we are a little out of the prom loop.

amelia said...

I second the Texas vote for

The Prom.

jamie said...

Down here in Alabama it's The Prom.

Charity Donovan said...

I think it's THE prom when you only have a senior prom, but if you have a junior/senior prom I think it's just prom...now the kicker...what was the theme song at THE Prom that you attended? We were so cool (yeah right!) that ours was Alphaville - Forever Young. It's nice I can remember that, but nothing about algebra....hmmmmm?

Dollymama said...

THE prom (but people say it the wrong way around here all the time)

Anonymous said...

Here in seattle we say "prom".
I think its a west coast thing to leave out the "the".
No one at my school puts it in anyways. Only the old people do...

Katie said...

We say "the prom" here and I am confused when I saw a few say graduation and prom are the same thing.
The Prom is a dress up dinner and dance.
Graduation is caps and gowns and diplomas, seniors only.
Here is is junior/senior prom combined, some places have it separate but I came from a small school.
The only way you got to go was if you were the date of a Junior or Senior or if you were a Sophomore that was a server at the pre-dinner. That was your pay, you got to go to the Prom a year early!

Anonymous said...

School, college and work are not events. Do you say "I am going to party" or I am going to the party"? How about "I am going to baseball game" or "I am going to the baseball game"?

The shortening of "the prom" to just "prom" really bothered me and I couldn't figure out why...then I realized that I'm just a freak about using proper English.

Scurvyann (Linda) said...

AHRHHRH - Yes! It is THE Prom. In "Pretty and Pink" it irked me hearing them talking about going "to prom". Thanks, I feel better now.

Matt aka Maxiu said...

In Nebraska, we said "going to prom". 'Course, Nebraskans say a lot of things wrong :P

Rico Pole said...

"The prom" is clearly more correct than simply "prom". The article is necessary because each and every prom is a specific and unique event.

Amanda Poppe said...

I'm from Minnesota and we said going to Prom...but my mom is from AZ and she constantly called it THE prom the weeks leading up to it. It drove me crazy!

Anonymous said...

In north Carolina we say "going to THE ho down"

Diane said...

The Prom is how we said it. I noticed the change about 10 years ago and think it sounds stupid to say ...going to prom... it sounds unfinished. It makes me think of the british when they say...he's in hospital instead of the hospital.