Your questions answered: downtown

A student was describing his weekend, and he said: “We went to downtown to visit.”

Can we say that? So, I decided to research American and British English. They seem to use “downtown” not quite the same way. It might be that Americans favor the use of the word “downtown” as an adjective and an adverb, while the British use it mainly as a noun.

downtown, adverb

in or to the central part of a city:

  • I’m going downtown now.
  • I work downtown, but I live in the suburbs.
  • You have to be downtown in a hurry.

downtown adjective

of the main business section of a city or town (only before noun):

  • downtown Los Angeles
  • downtown store
  • a downtown address
  • Downtown business interests say that restoration would be too costly.
  • He works in an office tower in downtown San Francisco.

downtown, noun

the centre of a city or town, especially its main business area:

  • There is a good hotel in the heart of downtown.
  • The hotel is situated two miles north of downtown.
  • The two chains were frequent neighbors at many malls and in many downtowns.

Here is a video that shows you how to pronounce downtown in British English. The speaker has an accent from Glasgow, Scotland.

So, how do we say that we went to visit a new city and that we wanted to get to know the downtown of the city?

There are a couple of possibilities:

“We went downtown to visit.” (adverb)

“We drove downtown to visit.” (adverb)

“We went to downtown Luiz Alves to visit.” (adjective)

“We went to visit the downtown of the city.” (noun)

Well, I hope I was of some help to you! 😉

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