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AT vs. IN (1)

14 / 03 / 2005

AT vs. IN (1): meaning and examples

Good morning. I hope you had a good weekend. This week's Daily Vitamins are based on a question from Susana S. Susana wanted to know the difference between the prepositions AT and IN. These prepositions are easy to confuse because they are both prepositions of location (to say where something is) and prepositions of time (to say when something happens). In addition, we can find AT and IN in different expressions and in combination with other verbs and adjectives. Today we will look at AT and IN as prepositions of location. AT We use this preposition to say where something or somebody is. We also use it to refer to a particular place: -->with complete addresses --> in the phrases at work and at home --> to refer to shops and businesses in phrases like: at the doctor's, at the butcher's --> to talk about an activity somewhere: at a party, at a meeting, at lunch, at dinner Examples: I live at 297 Hamilton Road. John is at work. He won't get home until 6 p.m. I'm afraid I left my books at home. I saw Lucy at work yesterday. There were so many customers at the butcher's that I decided not to wait. They met at a party. Shall I see you at the meeting this afternoon? He told us about the project at lunch. IN We use this preposition to say where something is: --> inside a room--container--building--vehicle --> within a geographical area (a city, a country etc.) --> within an object--space--substance --> held or enclosed by something (in your hands--arms etc.) Examples: Your books are in the bedroom. Your clothes are in the wardrobe. I work in that building over there. The children are waiting in the car. There aren't very many parks in the city. I can't find a pen. Are you sure there's one in your pencil case? Waiter, there's a fly in my soup. Put your head in your arms and don't look! I want it to be a surprise. The main difference between AT and IN for location is that: IN expresses the idea that an object is surrounded by or inside something else AT is usually used to talk about the activities that take place somewhere. Tomorrow we will look at the difference between AT and IN for expressions of time. If you have any questions about these words so far, please don't hesitate to contact me. Have a productive day!


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