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    #1

    In or At?

    I was playing a board game in class this morning and the goal is to have students guess the missing preposition in the sentences I read aloud...Thus I read, I saw pandas ______ the zoo. What would you answer at or in? How about these other two? Rosie saw her friend William ________the disco last night. and The children were playing _______ the park. Why did you choose what you chose?

  1. RonBee's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: In or At?

    I saw pandas at the zoo.
    Rosie saw her friend William at the disco last night.
    The children were playing in the park.

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    #3

    Re: In or At?

    RonBee..why did you choose at for the first two and in for the other?

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    #4

    Re: In or At?

    If you saw William at the disco, he might have been passed out in the alley behind the disco.


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    #5

    Re: In or At?

    Why??!!!

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: In or At?

    Quote Originally Posted by Avalon View Post
    I was playing a board game in class this morning and the goal is to have students guess the missing preposition in the sentences I read aloud...Thus I read, I saw pandas ______ the zoo. What would you answer at or in? How about these other two? Rosie saw her friend William ________the disco last night. and The children were playing _______ the park. Why did you choose what you chose?
    IMO,

    1. in or at
    2. in or at
    3. in

    "At" refers to a general location; "in" refers to being inside the confines of something. If the third was "I met John _____ the park, either is possible. But one can only play inside the park or outside the park.

  3. RonBee's Avatar
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    #7

    Post Re: In or At?

    Mike is right, as usual. To some extent it is a matter of personal preference (probably based on regional usage), but only to some extent.

    ~R

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: In or At?

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    Mike is right, as usual. To some extent it is a matter of personal preference (probably based on regional usage), but only to some extent.

    ~R
    Prepositions are tough -- for all of us.

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    #9

    Re: In or At?

    Thank you....but the pandas were surely in the zoo, weren´t they? nevertheless, the card says I saw pandas at the zoo, and IMO Rosie probably met her friend in the disco, not in the alley behind it! Well,I don´t really care much about that, but being a teacher and saying ,yeah guys, it is pretty confusing, does not seem to satisfy my students...they´re crazy about learning the whys ...

  5. RonBee's Avatar
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    #10

    Post Re: In or At?

    Quote Originally Posted by Avalon View Post
    Thank you....but the pandas were surely in the zoo, weren´t they? nevertheless, the card says I saw pandas at the zoo, and IMO Rosie probably met her friend in the disco, not in the alley behind it! Well,I don´t really care much about that, but being a teacher and saying ,yeah guys, it is pretty confusing, does not seem to satisfy my students...they´re crazy about learning the whys ...
    It's convention as much as anything. You certainly can't go wrong by saying you saw the pandas at the zoo. (You were at the zoo and they were at the zoo.) As Mike pointed out, you can also use in there. (You were within the boundaries of the zoo and so were the pandas.) The same goes for the second sentence. You can say that Rosie met her friend at the disco whether they met inside the disco or right outside the disco. However, you should only use in if they were inside the disco when they met.

    (Native speakers often have trouble with "why" questions because they usually don't think about why they use the words they use. They think about it only when asked the question.)

    ~R

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