At in

suso26

Senior Member
Spanish México.
COuld you help me please?

when "at" shoud be used instead of "in"?

ex.

We need a computer in the materials unloading area.

we need a computer at the materials unloading area.

I will appreciate your help.

Thanks
 
  • Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    suso26 said:
    COuld you help me please?

    when "at" shoud be used instead of "in"?

    ex.

    We need a computer in the materials unloading area.

    we need a computer at the materials unloading area.

    I will appreciate your help.

    Thanks

    At/in
    they are normally used for position. At is used to talk about a position at a point >> Turn right at the next corner. We use "at" with a larger place, if we just think of this as a point: a stage on a journey or a meeting place for instance >> The plane stops for an hour at Frankfurt vs She lives in Frankfurt
    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 The Steak House -best food in town

    In is used for position inside large areas, and in three-dimensional space (when sth is surrounded on all sides) >> I don't think he is in the office

    Source: Practical English Usage (Michael Swan)

    So, after reading this, I think the better option is "in". But let the English-speaking natives have their say in this.
     

    cristóbal

    Senior Member
    EEUU/Inglés
    Yeah, Art, I agree with you. I was going to respond and say that "in" is better than "at" but I realized I couldn't explain why. Your explanation helps, but I still think that there's a lot of subjectivity involved. I'm not even sure if there are exact rules, but yours are good guidelines at least.
    To me either sentence sounds fine and understandable, but "in" sounds a bit more correct.
    There are some exceptions:
    The plane stops for an hour at Frankfurt... (I would say "The plane stops for an hour IN Frankfurt.) Hmmm...

    "At" is typically used to describe position at a location, I suppose, whereas "in" is used to describe position within a larger space. But then there's "in front of"... why isn't it "at front of"?????
    English, what a mess... :D
     

    ScotsLoon

    Member
    Scotland English
    But then there's "in front of"... why isn't it "at front of"?????

    Just to add to the confusion instead of "in front of" you can also say "at the front of" both to me mean exactly the same thing.
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    ScotsLoon said:
    But then there's "in front of"... why isn't it "at front of"?????

    Just to add to the confusion instead of "in front of" you can also say "at the front of" both to me mean exactly the same thing.

    Well, Scots, you know.. once someone asked me why we do have to say "at" the PC but "in front " of the TV.
    I explained that "in front of" means that you have at least two dimensions, there is a distance between you and the TV set, whereas when you are "at" the PC there is no distance separating you from the machine.
    I think you should use "in" + front of, because of what I have just explained.
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    suso26 said:
    COuld you help me please?

    when "at" shoud be used instead of "in"?

    ex.

    We need a computer in the materials unloading area.

    we need a computer at the materials unloading area.

    I will appreciate your help.

    Thanks
    After reading all the good answers here to this question, I still read these sentences the same. They both sound good to me. You can say either one and they make sense.

    We need a computer at the unloading area/in the unloading area. In may sound a little better but both are okay.

    One difference between at/in: Normally, to use in, you would speak of someone being in the same place you are, at when the person is at a different location than you.
    Is he in the office? Yes, he's around here somewhere.
    Is he at the office? Yes, he left here 20 minutes ago so he must be by now.
    Is the cat in the house? Yes, I let him in.
    Is the cat at the vet? Yes, I took him there yesterday.

    Where is your homework? It's at home (in my dog's stomach).

    I hope this doesn't confuse things. I'm sure others will have a different opinion.
     

    cristóbal

    Senior Member
    EEUU/Inglés
    jacinta said:
    After reading all the good answers here to this question, I still read these sentences the same. They both sound good to me. You can say either one and they make sense.

    We need a computer at the unloading area/in the unloading area. In may sound a little better but both are okay.

    One difference between at/in: Normally, to use in, you would speak of someone being in the same place you are, at when the person is at a different location than you.
    Is he in the office? Yes, he's around here somewhere.
    Is he at the office? Yes, he left here 20 minutes ago so he must be by now.
    Is the cat in the house? Yes, I let him in.
    Is the cat at the vet? Yes, I took him there yesterday.

    Where is your homework? It's at home (in my dog's stomach).

    I hope this doesn't confuse things. I'm sure others will have a different opinion.
    hehe... Don't ever say "Is the cat in the vet?" :D
    Another thing, we never say "in home" always, "at home"
    but then there's "in the house" and "at the house".
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    cristóbal said:
    hehe... Don't ever say "Is the cat in the vet?" :D
    Another thing, we never say "in home" always, "at home"
    but then there's "in the house" and "at the house".
    Horrors!
    But we'd say "the cat's in with the vet now". I'm in the waiting room and the cat's in the examining room with the vet

    in the house and at the house : This fits with what I was saying before. If I am at the house, my kids are in the house. If we're outside, in the yard, and I say, "Where's John?", someone will say, "He's in the house." But, if we are away from the house, let's say at the beach, and I say, "Where are my sunglasses?" someone will say, "You must have left them at the house".

    Sorry, I took the opportunity to explain your examples.

    We can go on and on all day talking about these two little words. I'm afraid there´s no easy answer.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Would it be right to say that, in general, at has to do with location and in implies containment?

    "at X" -> in the same place as X
    "in X" -> inside X
     

    cristóbal

    Senior Member
    EEUU/Inglés
    I think so, Outsider.

    Let me tell you a little story now that the learning's done with. :)

    When you go to New Orleans (because one day you MUST), be careful that you don't get caught up into a little trick that people on the street will play on you. They will come up to you and try to bet you that they "can guess where you got your shoes at." If you accept the bet, assuming that they have no idea where you bought your shoes, they will then smugly say "you got your shoes on your feet." and you will have to pay them, because you just lost the bet. :D

    Also a very common phrase heard in southern Louisiana is "Where y'at?" which means basically "Where are you?" and is a contraction of "Where [are] you at?" It is, nevertheless, considered gramatically incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition. (But I do it all the time, I just can't give the habit up) hehe. :D
     
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