at school v in school

Md. Saiful Alam

Senior Member
Bangla
Hello everyone,

a. Borney is at school now.
b. Borney is in school now.

Is there any difference in meaning between two sentences? Would you mind elucidating the difference?

Saiful
 
  • Wheres or whys

    Member
    British English
    'In' is more likely to come from American English whereas 'at' is BE. Both at/in school are used interchangeably.
    As regards difference in meaning - there is perhaps a slight subtle difference that 'in school' means they attend school - as opposed to having finished school, while 'at school' means they are there now.So "are your children in school" = are they under 16 or 18 ? But "are your children at school" = are they at school today or are they at home.
    (but that's from a BE perspective)
     
    Last edited:

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    'In' is more likely to come from American English whereas 'at' is British. Both at/in school are used interchangeably.
    :thumbsdown:
    This an over-simplification and not entirely correct.

    "In school," for example can mean "regularly attending school," whereas "at school" does not.

    I suggest you review the multiple existing discussions, which you can find be entering at in school in the search box at the top of the page, including:

    at school//in school
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    "In school" can also mean currently present. Phone call from school official to parent: "Mrs. Smith, Tommy isn't in school today, and I'm calling to find out why. Is he ill?"

    The two are certainly not broadly interchangeable.

    Input from BE speakers would be welcome (I'm not aware of any consistent AE-BE difference).
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    "In school," for example can mean "regularly attending school," whereas "at school" does not.

    In BE the reverse is generally true.

    Over here, "in school" would be taken to mean present in the building: "Borney isn't in school today: he's away on a field trip."
    Otherwise we say "at school": "Borney isn't at school now" would carry the inference that he no longer attends regularly.
     

    veggie21

    Senior Member
    English England
    Hi
    I would always say 'at' school. I would only use 'in' if I was implying 'inside' rather than 'outside' the school building.
     
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