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  1. nyota's Avatar
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    #1

    Stop on/at the red light

    Stop at the red light
    Stop on the red light

    Take a turn on a red light
    take a turn at a red light

    Take a turn on the red light
    Take a turn at the red light

    Right turn on red
    Right turn at red


    Could you please tick them right or wrong?
    Last edited by nyota; 19-Sep-2011 at 18:06.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Stop on/at the red light

    Quote Originally Posted by nyota View Post
    Stop at the red light
    Stop on the red light

    Take a turn on a red light
    take a turn at a red light

    Take a turn on the red light
    Take a turn at the red light

    Right turn on red
    Right turn at red


    Could you please tick them right or wrong?
    Which ones do you think are correct?

  3. nyota's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Stop on/at the red light

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Which ones do you think are correct?
    Taking a guess now since with all the versions I've seen, I'm simply not sure. I'd say all of them could work.

  4. Bennevis's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Stop on/at the red light

    Quote Originally Posted by nyota View Post
    Stop at the red light
    Stop on the red light

    Take a turn on a red light
    take a turn at a red light

    Take a turn on the red light
    Take a turn at the red light

    Right turn on red
    Right turn at red


    Could you please tick them right or wrong?
    In such situations, "at" is used when we use something as a reference point or a sign at which we are going to do something.
    For example,
    "Turn right at the traffic light" can mean "turn right as soon as you get to (or see) the traffic light".
    I do feel there is more to it, though. And I'd like to know what native speakers think of the last two phrases.

  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Stop on/at the red light

    If we are talking of traffic lights, then my view is:
    Quote Originally Posted by nyota View Post
    Stop at the red light ?.....Stop on the red light ?/

    Take a turn on a red light X.....take a turn at a red light X
    Take a turn on the red light X....Take a turn at the red light X
    Right turn on red X.....Right turn at red X
    I think you could be told to stop 'on a red light' - i.e. when the traffic lights show red.

    I think you would be unlikely to be told to stop 'at the red light'.

    None of the others works - for traffic lights.

  6. Ouisch's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Stop on/at the red light

    Quote Originally Posted by nyota View Post
    Right turn on red
    Right turn at red


    Could you please tick them right or wrong?

    In the US at least, "Right Turn on Red" would be the proper phrase. This refers to a law that was enacted in 1980 that allowed drivers to make a right turn when the traffic light was red, but only after coming to a complete stop first. Individual jurisdictions were allowed to determine which intersections red light right-turners might create a traffic hazard, so warning signs stating "NO TURN ON RED" were erected at these junctions.

  7. Bennevis's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Stop on/at the red light

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    If we are talking of traffic lights, then my view is: I think you could be told to stop 'on a red light' - i.e. when the traffic lights show red.

    I think you would be unlikely to be told to stop 'at the red light'.

    None of the others works - for traffic lights.
    This Oregon Driver Manual does have "stop at the red light". How do native speakers automatically decide when to use what? Do they learn from what they hear or see or do they consult grammar books? I think it's a bit of both. We, non-native speakers, find it disturbing when native speakers don't see eye to eye on, supposedly, simple things.

  8. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Stop on/at the red light

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennevis View Post
    This Oregon Driver Manual does have "stop at the red light". How do native speakers automatically decide when to use what? Do they learn from what they hear or see or do they consult grammar books? I think it's a bit of both. We, non-native speakers, find it disturbing when native speakers don't see eye to eye on, supposedly, simple things.
    Ah, well, you see, using the word "simple" in a post about English language is a basic error!!

    If it's any help, the only reason I know about "Right turn on red" is because I've driven in America.

    In BrE, we don't have that rule, so we pretty much consistently use "at".

    You have to stop at a red light.
    He got a ticket for not stopping at a red light.
    She's a terrible driver and frequently fails to stop at red lights.
    I got 3 points on my licence for not stopping at a red light. The thing is, I'm convinced that it wasn't red. I think I drove through an amber light.
    Go down this road, turn left at the lights and the supermarket is on the right.

  9. Bennevis's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Stop on/at the red light

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Ah, well, you see, using the word "simple" in a post about English language is a basic error!!
    Well, I can see why!

  10. 5jj's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Stop on/at the red light

    Quote Originally Posted by Bennevis View Post
    How do native speakers automatically decide when to use what? Do they learn from what they hear or see mainly, yes

    or do they consult grammar books?
    Most native speakers wouldn't know what a grammar book was.

    I think it's a bit of both.
    Not a chance, for most native speakers
    .

    We, non-native speakers, find it disturbing when native speakers don't see eye to eye on, supposedly, simple things.
    That's one of the fun things about English. We have no equivalent of the French Academy, no recognised authority. If one of our versions had such an authority, it would not be recognised by other areas. Just within the comparatively small area as the British Isles, we have several varieties of English, and many dialects.

    Even that minority version known as RP changes constantly. What is unacceptable one year may be completely acceptable twenty years later; in the intervening twenty years that tiny minority of people interested in the language are arguing about it.
    If it were not so, there would be no usingenglish.com. There would be recognised books that answered every question, with no appeal. I like it better this way.

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