AT a place where there's no university

cheshire

Senior Member
Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
(1) Kate has been at Oxford.

Does "at" in (1) necessitates the meaning of "at Oxford University"?

(2) Kate has been at Manx.

If there is no university in Manx, what does (2) mean?
 
  • Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    (1) Kate has been at Oxford.

    Does "at" in (1) necessitates the meaning of "at Oxford University"?

    (2) Kate has been at Manx.

    If there is no university in Manx, what does (2) mean?
    I think it could also imply a point on a map of someone's trips.



    Tom
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    (1) Kate has been at Oxford.

    Does "at" in (1) necessitates the meaning of "at Oxford University"?

    (2) Kate has been at Manx.

    If there is no university in Manx, what does (2) mean?
    I don't know about 'necessitates', but (1) suggests 'Oxford University' (or Oxford Fire Station, or Oxford Gas Works, etc), because 'at' suggests an institution rather than a point on the map.

    (2) does not make sense because there is no such place as Manx. There is a place called the Isle of Man, to which the adjective is Manx. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isle_of_Man
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    In the teeth of what I said in my previous post I agree with se16teddy, but also hold my opinion.
    "at" for buildings, "on" for a point on the map--great help!
    This is a generalisation, but of course you can find some "exceptions" to which I related in my earlier answer.


    Tom
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    It isn't right to say it's always 'at' for buildings. You can be in the gas works or at the gas works.
    - 'In the gas works' - in a building.
    - 'At the gas works' at a building that REPRESENTS an employer, a supplier of gas, etc.
    I don't quite get to grips with the differentiation of gas works in your post, aren't they both "representative" of an emplyoer? Could you please elaborate?

    Anyway, here's how I get the difference:
    - 'In the gas works' - inside the building.
    - 'At the gas works' - inside the building or outside it in the area surrounding the building, e.g.: in a parking lot, or just in front of the entrance, etc.


    Tom
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don't quite get to grips with the differentiation of gas works in your post, aren't they both "representative" of an employer? Could you please elaborate?
    The meaning of 'at' that I was fumbling towards is explained as meaning 5 of 'at' in the Oxford English Dictionary. 'At, as distinguished from in or on, is sometimes used to express some practical connexion with a place, as distinguished from mere local position: cf. in school, at school; in or on the sea, at sea; in prison, at the hotel.'
    I am in the gas works - my location.
    I am at the gas works - I work there (though I may not be there at the moment), OR I am working there now, OR I am paying by gas bill, etc.
    I am in the university - I am in one of the university buildings.
    I am at the university - I am one of the students or teaching staff, OR I am attending a function arranged by the university at one of the university buildings, OR I am visiting a student, etc.
    It may be helpful to mention (again) the words with which the dictionary introduces its 40 different definitions of the word 'at'. 'At is used to denote relations of so many kinds, and some of these so remote from its primary local sense, that a classification of its uses is very difficult. Only a general outline can be here given...'
     

    cailin

    Member
    Ireland / english
    I would disagree with the last thread. Wrong way round.
    in the gas works is to be someplace you know. At the gas works is someplace you don't know
     

    Orange Blossom

    Senior Member
    U.S.A. English
    We do indeed use 'at' before place locations that we are very familiar with:

    John receives a cell phone call from his wife: Where are you John?
    John: I'm at the office honey. <-- The office is where he works. Maybe he's in the office, maybe he's in the parking lot outside, maybe he's in the hall.

    Scenario two:

    Law firm with three practicing lawyers with separate offices.

    Lawyer one calls lawyer two on his cell phone instead of the office phone: Bill. I have a case I need to discuss with you.

    Lawyer 2: I'm in my office right now. Why don't you come in and we can discuss it?

    Orange Blossom
     

    cheshire

    Senior Member
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    I find this thread very informative.

    To put it the distinction in one word for each, "at" is for "social," while "in" is for "physical." That is, "at" is for "social location" while "in" is for "physical location."
     
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