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    #11

    Re: At/in the restaurant

    Yes, that's what I was asking about. I was not sure whether ''at'' and ''in'' are used interchangeably when we say that a person is inside the building. You said ''in'' is the correct preposition. I didn't know that. I thought both are used . Both locate the speaker's exact position in the same way. So I had better remove ''at'' in my examples.
    1.''She is at an office/bank.''
    2.''She is at the office/bank I mentioned before.''
    3.She is in an office/bank.
    4.She is in the office/bank I mentioned before.

  2. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #12

    Re: At/in the restaurant

    Quote Originally Posted by sondra View Post
    Both locate the speaker's exact position in the same way.
    No, that's not right. They do not locate the position in the same way. That's why they are different prepositions.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #13

    Re: At/in the restaurant

    If someone is anywhere within the interior of a bank, they could be described either as "in the bank" or "at the bank". Although the chances are that their reason for being in the building is to do some sort of bank transaction, "in" refers only to the geographical location of the person, whereas "at" can suggest specifically that they are carrying out a transaction of some kind. However, there is no 100% certainty.

    As the others have said "sitting at the restaurant", whilst not grammatically incorrect, just doesn't sound natural to native speakers. I might be sitting at a table in a restaurant.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #14

    Re: At/in the restaurant

    Thank you all so much for your explanations. So the main difference is that ''in'' is used when we are thinking about location and ''at'' is used when we are thinking about the activity that happens in a particular place. It's easy to understand and use with the verb ''to be'' but if I use other verbs, for example, ''to work'' or ''to teach'' with 'school'', ''university'' and ''college?'' If I use ''at'' does it mean I am thinking about the activity again and with ''in'' about location?

    She works in a/the bank/school/college/universty.
    She works at a/the bank/school/college/universty.
    She works in an//the office/school/college/universty.
    She works at an/the office/school/college/universty.


    She is in a/the bank/school/college/universty/office.
    She is at a/the bank/school/college/universty/office.
    She is in an//the office/school/college/universty.
    She is at an/the office/school/college/universty.

    Based on what I already know in a bank/office/college/school/university means I work inside the building.
    At a bank/office/college/school/university is more general. The person works within the bank/office/college/university.
    Last edited by sondra; 22-Jan-2020 at 11:26.

  5. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #15

    Re: At/in the restaurant

    Quote Originally Posted by sondra View Post
    So the main difference is that ''in'' is used when we are thinking about location and ''at'' is used when we are thinking about the activity that happens in a particular place.
    Well, that's not how I understand it, and it's certainly not how I would teach it.

    Based on what I already know in a bank/office/college/school/university means I work inside the building.
    At a bank/office/college/school/university is more general.
    Yes, that's the basic difference between the two prepositions, regardless of whether you're talking about bank/office/school/college/university.

    Both prepositions locate place, but generally speaking, in is more specific in that it has a sense of 'inside'.

  6. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #16

    Re: At/in the restaurant

    Quote Originally Posted by sondra View Post
    Based on what I already know in a bank/office/college/school/university means I work inside the building.
    At a bank/office/college/school/university is more general. The person works within the bank/office/college/university.
    With working at a bank or an office, I think both "in" and "at" would be taken to mean "inside". You're unlikely to work outdoors if you work for a bank, and "at an office" pretty much has to mean "inside an office". We just wouldn't say it like that.

    With working at a college or a university, "at" could mean inside (lecturer, teacher, professor, secretary, caretaker cleaner etc) or outside (gardener) or someone who works both inside and outside the building (handyman/woman, plumber, carpenter etc).
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #17

    Re: At/in the restaurant

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    With working at a bank or an office, I think both "in" and "at" would be taken to mean "inside". You're unlikely to work outdoors if you work for a bank, and "at an office" pretty much has to mean "inside an office". We just wouldn't say it like that.

    With working at a college or a university, "at" could mean inside (lecturer, teacher, professor, secretary, caretaker cleaner etc) or outside (gardener) or someone who works both inside and outside the building (handyman/woman, plumber, carpenter etc).
    Would you use it? For example, ''she works at a school/at a college/ at a university.'' Maybe it doesn't sound natural just like ''at an office'' and ''at a bank?''
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 28-Jan-2020 at 15:47. Reason: Removed unnecessary bold

  8. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #18

    Re: At/in the restaurant

    Quote Originally Posted by sondra View Post
    Would you use it these? For example, ''She works at a school/at a college/ at a university.'' Maybe it doesn't they don't sound as natural just like as ''at an office'' and ''at a bank?''
    Your three examples are grammatical and correct. In fact, they are more likely than the versions with "in".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #19

    Re: At/in the restaurant

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Your three examples are grammatical and correct. In fact, they are more likely than the versions with "in".
    In post #16, you said native speakers woudn't just say it like that. So I wanted to make sure I didn't misunderstand your explanations. With bank and office and probably restaurant ''in'' is more likely to be used, but with school, college and university ''at'' is more likely than ''in''. Right?

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    #20

    Re: At/in the restaurant

    Quote Originally Posted by sondra View Post
    In post #16, you said native speakers woudn't just say it like that. So I wanted to make sure I didn't misunderstand your explanations. With bank and office and probably restaurant ''in'' is more likely to be used, but with school, college and university ''at'' is more likely than ''in''. Right?
    No, that's all wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    With working at a bank or an office, I think both "in" and "at" would be taken to mean "inside". You're unlikely to work outdoors if you work for a bank, and "at an office" pretty much has to mean "inside an office". We just wouldn't say it like that.
    With the blue part, emsr2d2 means that we wouldn't say She works inside an office even though it is understood that she is inside the room while working.

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