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    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5
    #1

    Smile Prepositions "in" vs. "at"

    I am having some problems with these prepositions, in and at. Is it possible to say both "I am at the library" or "in the library"? Is there a change in the meaning? Can you use either of them no matter what the place you are referring to is?
    Thanks for your help!


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #2

    Re: Prepositions "in" vs. "at"

    I am at the library - you could be either outside the library building or in the library building. It is not clear.

    I am in the library - you are inside the library building.

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    #3

    Re: Prepositions "in" vs. "at"

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    I am at the library - you could be either outside the library building or in the library building. It is not clear.

    I am in the library - you are inside the library building.

    hello anglika,

    so, the idea behind "at" and "in" is always that?

    may i apply this rule for every situation?

    thanks


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #4

    Re: Prepositions "in" vs. "at"

    Quote Originally Posted by jctgf View Post
    hello anglika,

    so, the idea behind "at" and "in" is always that?

    may i apply this rule for every situation?

    thanks
    In this context, yes.

    It is not a rule for every situation.

    The hands of the clock are set at midday
    The day ends at sunset



    I am in a hurry
    You will be found in a moment.

  1. Borovac's Avatar

    • Join Date: May 2008
    • Posts: 32
    #5

    Re: Prepositions "in" vs. "at"

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    I am at the library - you could be either outside the library building or in the library building. It is not clear.

    I am in the library - you are inside the library building.

    I found these examples on the internet:
    I usually study at the library til 2am
    They would come from the other universities to study at the library at Saint Mary's

    If it's sais this is it grammatically incorrect or only not precise? Would people understand where the person is and consider it right or not?

    thank you very much!


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #6

    Re: Prepositions "in" vs. "at"

    English is a flexible and subtle language, which is why it can be so exasperating for non-native speakers.

    Both your examples are fine - in the context in which they are used. They are acceptable and comprehensible. We would understand that the person is both at and within the library.

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