at/in/on the settlement ?

casandra now

Member
Spanish
Hello, I need your help again. Can anybody tell me what preposition collocates with the word settlement in this context?:

Columbus reunited with his brother in/at/on the settlement they had built, Isabela.

Also, if I do not use the word settlement and I call it by its name, do I have to use the same preposition?


Thanks a lot :)
 
  • MirandaEscobedo

    Senior Member
    British English
    It is not entirely easy to work out what the sentence is supposed to mean but I can't see how "on" could be correct unless it means that they reunited in the sense of reaching an agreement.
    "Reunited" is not usually used is the active form. So the sentence would be better as: "Columbus was reunited with his brother at the settlement they had built, Isabela."
     

    casandra now

    Member
    Spanish
    It is not entirely easy to work out what the sentence is supposed to mean but I can't see how "on" could be correct unless it means that they reunited in the sense of reaching an agreement.
    "Reunited" is not usually used is the active form. So the sentence would be better as: "Columbus was reunited with his brother at the settlement they had built, Isabela."
    Thanks, Miranda, for your help. I didn´t know that I was using the verb reunite in the wrong way. I want to express that Columbus is going to see his brother again in/at Isabela, which is the name of the settlement they had built. My original problem was with the preposition I should use before settlement​, now I see I should also change the verb , shouldn't I ?
     

    Lisk

    New Member
    English - American
    'On' is definitely incorrect. 'In' or 'at' can both work, though I would lean towards 'in' when referring to a town/village/etc., regardless of whether it is named.

    It's pretty hard to sort out the rules for when each of these prepositions is most appropriate. I'm not even sure there is a hard and fast rule, and you can usually find counterexamples. Very generally, I think 'at' is usually for relatively small locations or distinct points: we reunited at the bus stop. 'In' seems more appropriate for larger geographical areas: we reunited in New York. 'On' also works in some cases, though not in this one, and usually when dealing with surfaces or structures: on the corner, on the Hudson, on the Eiffel Tower -- in that sense it's almost like 'on top of.' (Note, however, that 'at the corner' also works. This is perhaps because 'the corner' is both a surface and a small, distinct geographic point. But who really knows. I think there's quite a bit of arbitrariness and custom at play with these location prepositions.)
     
    Last edited:

    MirandaEscobedo

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, Lisk, that is an interesting point. On reflection, I realise that I chose "at" because I was imagining a settlement as a distinct point because it would have been relatively small. Certainly, "X and Y were reunited at New York" wouldn't work, although one could say "... at New York airport" (if there were an airport with that name!).
     

    casandra now

    Member
    Spanish
    Yes, Lisk, that is an interesting point. On reflection, I realise that I chose "at" because I was imagining a settlement as a distinct point because it would have been relatively small. Certainly, "X and Y were reunited at New York" wouldn't work, although one could say "... at New York airport" (if there were an airport with that name!).

    Thank you , Miranda, for your help again. I have decided on the preposition "in" before settlement :)
     

    casandra now

    Member
    Spanish
    Thank you for your help, Lisk. You have really made it clear to me that if I take "settlement" as a small town, I should use the preposition "in" either when I use the noun, or when I call it by its name Isabella. So my last choice was ...in the settlement they had built.../Back in Isabella, Columbus....


     
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