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    #1

    in/at the canteen

    I've got a huge problem with the prepositions "at" and "in" when I talk about places such a restaurant, canteen, etc.

    I eat lunches at my school canteen.
    but
    The staff in my school canteen is very friendly.

    Correct?

  1. Grumpy's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: in/at the canteen

    In general use, they are completely interchangeable - unless you want to make it clear that you are actually inside the premises. Saying just "I'll meet you at the restaurant" may result in you sitting waiting at your table, while your date paces up and down the street outside....
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

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    #3

    Re: in/at the canteen

    Quote Originally Posted by angelene001 View Post
    The staff in my school canteen is very friendly.
    Incidentally, we are more likely to say, "The staff ... are ..." in BrE.

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    #4

    Re: in/at the canteen

    Hey angelene001,

    When you're talking about places like the restaurant, the park, the school, the playground, you can usually use either one.

    Try to use "in" for names of countries...etc

    For example:

    "I left my guitar at my house in Holland."

    Calvin

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    #5

    Re: in/at the canteen

    Quote Originally Posted by angelene001 View Post
    I've got a huge problem with the prepositions "at" and "in" when I talk about places such a restaurant, canteen, etc.

    I eat lunches at my school canteen.
    but
    The staff in my school canteen is very friendly.

    Correct?
    As you can see, both can be appropriate. However, in your two specific examples, I would have used the opposite to the one you chose and I would have worded the sentences slightly differently:

    I have lunch in the school canteen.
    The canteen staff at my school are very friendly.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #6

    Re: in/at the canteen

    I've always thought that there is a rule, which I don't understand, how to use "at" and "in" with restaurants, bars, cafes, etc.
    So both "at" and "in" are correct.
    The same with "to stay at a hotel" and "to stay in a hotel"?

    What about "hospital"?
    I spent 2 months at hospital.
    or
    I spent 2 moths in hospital.

    The same rule here?

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    #7

    Re: in/at the canteen

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    As you can see, both can be appropriate. However, in your two specific examples, I would have used the opposite to the one you chose and I would have worded the sentences slightly differently:

    I have lunch in the school canteen.
    The canteen staff at my school are very friendly.
    Can I say:
    The canteen cooks are very friendly.

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    #8

    Re: in/at the canteen

    Quote Originally Posted by angelene001 View Post
    Can I say:
    The canteen cooks are very friendly.
    I find "the canteen cooks" very unnatural. Apart from anything else, the canteen staff will include people other than cooks.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #9

    Re: in/at the canteen

    Quote Originally Posted by angelene001 View Post
    I've always thought that there is a rule, which I don't understand, how to use "at" and "in" with restaurants, bars, cafes, etc.
    So both "at" and "in" are correct.
    The same with "to stay at a hotel" and "to stay in a hotel"? Yes.

    What about "hospital"?
    I spent 2 months at hospital.
    or
    I spent 2 months in hospital.
    Rover

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    #10

    Re: in/at the canteen

    In AmE, I believe "I spent two months in the hospital".

    I am going to make a rather far-fetched argument for using "at", in BrE at least. We generally say we are "at hospital" when we are there waiting to be admitted, or just there for a minor issue. "In hospital" suggests we have been admitted formally to the hospital and are actually taking up a hospital bed.

    I was at [the] hospital for seven hours last night, after cutting my finger very badly.
    I spent seven hours at the local hospital last night, after cutting my finger very badly.

    The National Health Service is, for now, holding its own but it's just possible that one day things might slide to the point that I have to wait in the waiting room for two months before being seen. If that happens, then "I spent two months at the hospital before I was finally seen by a doctor!" As I said, it's very far-fetched but it might help you with the usage. The normal usage would be "I spent two months in hospital before the doctors decided I was well enough to be discharged".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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