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Prepositions – in and at

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By Mary Morel

Reader’s question: Could you please teach me a simple method to remember how and when to use the words in and at appropriately?

For example, which of the following sentences are correct?

I live in/at England Garden.
I am in/at the airport.
I am waiting for you at/in the lobby.

Answer:

in

We use in for the names of towns, states, countries etc.

I live in Sydney.

We also use in with spaces.

in a room
in the garden
in the lobby
in the park
in the airport

at

We use at for specific addresses.

I live at England Garden.

We also use at with places.

at the cinema
at the corner
at the airport
at the lobby

So I would say:

I live at England Garden.
I am in/at the airport depending on where I was at the airport.*
I am at/in the lobby. I think you can use either in or at.

NB In indicates you are inside the airport, whereas with at you could be standing outside the airport.

Learn more

Learn more about prepositions with an ESL Grammar (A$39) online course.

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