Sunday, October 10, 2010

This Week's Preposition

At the Bus Stop by Beryl Cook.

Sometimes, we confuse "at", "in" and "on" when we're taking about a place.

We use "at" when we are talking about position at a point.
"It's very hot at the centre of the earth."
"Turn right at the next corner."

Sometimes we use "at" with a larger place if we think of this as a point or a stage on a journey or as a meeting place. Compare:

"The plane stops at London for an hour." (a point on a journey.)
"She lives in London." (Somebody's home.)
"Let's meet at the club."
"Let's meet at Jane's house."

We very often use "at" before the name of a building when we are thinking, not of the building itself, but of the activity that happens there.

"Eat at Dino's; the best food in town!"
"She's not here; she's at the office."
"At" is used before the name of a city to refer to that city's university.

He's a student at Oxford.

"At" is also used before the names of group activities.

at a party; at a meeting; at a concert; at a lecture; at the football match.

Source: Swan, M. 2000. Practical English Usage. Oxford, UK: OUP

Test your kowledge of "at", "in" and "on" here.

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