At/in/to the swimming pool (a location)

Discussion in 'English Only' started by wolfbm1, Apr 15, 2011.

  1. wolfbm1

    wolfbm1 Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    I can understand that at is a location or a point, while in is inside that location. We also use to when we want to express a movement towards a location.
    I wonder if there is any difference between these pairs of sentences ( Source: Elementary Total English Workbook by Mark Foley and Diane Hall, p. 18 “Correct the mistakes with the verbs. … 3. We swimming at the swimming pool. ___________________ “

    1.We swim at the swimming pool.
    2.We go swimming at the swimming pool.

    The sentences above are correct. I wonder what would happen if I replaced the preposition at with the preposition in.

    3.We swim in the swimming pool.
    4.We go swimming in the swimming pool.

    Would there be any significant change in meaning? Could it mean that one wants to stress that the activity takes place inside the pool rather than inside and around it? But one cannot swim around a swimming pool. So the preposition at can only mean inside the pool in this case anyway. Am I right?

    I think that one could also say:
    5.We usually go swimming to the swimming pool and sometimes to the canal. And then the movement toward the location is stressed rather than just the location itself. Am I right?

    I also wonder if there is any difference between:
    6. We are swimming at the swimming pool?
    7. We are swimming in the swimming pool?
    I think that when one is doing the activity one has to use the preposition in rather than the general at. Am I right?

    In summary:

    Are sentences 1,2,3,4 basically interchangeable?
    Is sentence 5 OK?
    Are sentences 6 and 7 basically interchangeable?
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2011
  2. Franco-filly Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - Southern England
    1. We swim at the pool (building location – as opposed to at the seaside, etc) implies that you would swim in the pool (water)

    2. We go swimming in the pool is possible but, as you say, if you’re at the pool it its obvious that you would swim in the pool water!

    3 & 4. As you state, would be implied from 1.

    5. “We go swimming to the pool” sounds as though you swim there -how? along the flooded gutters?? :D You would need to say “we go to the pool to swim or to the canal”

    I would avoid using swimming in unless there are two separate pools/bodies of water and you wish to emphasise which you swam in. e.g. The pool was so crowded we went swimming in the diving pool.
     
  3. wolfbm1

    wolfbm1 Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Thank you Franco-filly. I understand that it is best to use the preposition at with swimming pools.
    And thank you for correcting sentence #5. So it should be:
    We usually go to the (swimming) pool to swim/for a swim, sometimes to the canal (and once a year to the seaside).
     
  4. ribran

    ribran Senior Member

    Austin, Texas
    English - American
    At makes me think of a municipal swimming pool.
    I swim at the municipal pool every morning.

    In makes me think of a swimming pool in a backyard.
    I love to go swimming in my friend's swimming pool. :tick:
    I love to go swimming at my friend's swimming pool. :cross:
     
  5. wolfbm1

    wolfbm1 Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Thank you ribran for your examples. I understand that a municipal swimming pool is more of a public location (place) than your friend's swimming pool in his backyard and that is why the preposition at is more suitable there.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2011
  6. ribran

    ribran Senior Member

    Austin, Texas
    English - American
    That is exactly right. :)
     

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