at the door/ on the door

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Anais Ninn

Senior Member
Korean
A student asked me to check a sentence he wrote;
Make sure that everyone has a pass ready to give to the man in the door.

I changed it to "Make sure that everyone has a pass ready to give to the man at the door."

Later, he said he asked his English teacher at school about this and she corrected it to "Make sure that everyone has a pass ready to give to the man on the door."

But to me, on the door sounds odd here. I can imagine someone knocking on the door or hanging a sign on the door, but can't picture someone on the door unless the door is on the floor or that someone has a special power to defy gravity.

What do you think?

Anais
 
  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    The only time I would use "on the door" when referring to a person would be if I were talking about their assignment at that post.

    "We have two men on the door, Mr. President, and one man every twenty feet down the hallway," said the security chief.

    I'm with you regarding this situation, though. I would say "man at the door".
     

    Anais Ninn

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thanks, JamesM. Now that I heard your explanation, could the man who everyone has to give the pass to be a bouncer or something, in other words, a man who is assigned to be on the door?

    Anais

    The only time I would use "on the door" when referring to a person would be if I were talking about their assignment at that post.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Yes, he chould be, but the only people I would expect to speak of him as "on the door" would be fellow employees, not customers. If you're giving a ticket to him, I would imagine you are a customer, not another employee.
     

    Neever

    Senior Member
    Ireland
    Hi,

    I would talk of "on the door" to refer to any person working as security etc. in a club, event or bar, even if I am speaking as a customer. For example:

    "Tommy was on the door down in Fitzgibbon´s the other night" meaning Tommy was the bouncer at a pub called Fitzgibbon's, or "I found a wallet, so I handed it in to the guy on the door".

    As to the original sentences, either at or on the door sound right to me, but heard in isolation I would probably assume that "on the door" meant at a bar etc. and "at the door" meant at some other event where alcohol, popular (in the broadest sense!) music or dancing were not of primary focus, for example a concert or play. That explanation is a bit muddy, but I can't think of a way to put it clearer....:(

    Neever
     

    Anais Ninn

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Neever, nonetheless, it was very helpful. Thank you.

    Anais

    Hi,

    I would talk of "on the door" to refer to any person working as security etc. in a club, event or bar, even if I am speaking as a customer. For example:

    "Tommy was on the door down in Fitzgibbon´s the other night" meaning Tommy was the bouncer at a pub called Fitzgibbon's, or "I found a wallet, so I handed it in to the guy on the door".

    As to the original sentences, either at or on the door sound right to me, but heard in isolation I would probably assume that "on the door" meant at a bar etc. and "at the door" meant at some other event where alcohol, popular (in the broadest sense!) music or dancing were not of primary focus, for example a concert or play. That explanation is a bit muddy, but I can't think of a way to put it clearer....:(

    Neever
     
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