Student or Learner
Can you please tell me the differences between 'in school' and 'at school'?
'How many friends do you have in(or at?) school?'
'I don't have many friends in(or at?) school, can I make friends with you?'
Which way sounds more natural to ask or reply? and can you give me some more examples?
a : the activity or process of learning or teaching in a school
▪ School is hard for her.
▪ Their daughter will start school next year.
▪ (US) Where do you teach school?
▪ (US) My parents won't let me get a job while I'm in school. = (Brit) My parents won't let me get a job while I'm at school. [=while I am a student in a school]
▪ Stay in school and get your diploma.
▪ He never did well in school.
b : the period of time during which students are in school
▪ I missed school yesterday.
▪ He was late for school. [=he was not at the school on time]
▪ Let's meet after school.
▪ School starts at 8:00 a.m.
—often used before another noun
▪ the school day/year
Hmm.... I think we're missing something here.
At school, to me, has a concrete meaning. Located at the school you attend in a physical sense. Example: I have been at school since 7 AM.
In school, on the other hand, has a conceptual, more abstract meaning. I will be in school until I graduate. I have been in school for 8 years now.
So, if I was 18, and my mother asked me "how many friends do you have at school" I might answer with the number who attend with me, at the same school.
If she asked me "how many friends do you have in school" I might also include additonal friends who do not attend my school, but who are in school somewhere, rather than drop-outs or in the work force.
So I think both have particular meanings, at least here in the Great Lakes region.
Thank you so much for your reply and your time!
Please allow me to ask something more to see if I understand your points.
If a friend of mine asks me, somehow he is interested in finding more about me, after I've graduated for many years, 'How many friends did you have in school?', what he really wants to know is how many friends I had while I was a student, during my school years?
What about if my mom asked me 'How many friends do you have in your school'. Does it still have the same meaning as 'How many friends do you have in school?', having some abstract meaning? Or it can mean the same thing as 'How many friends do you have at your school', the location of the school I attend?
Please do correct me, I got confused, and I would like to learn more.
You get it, but there is room in English for variation, it is not a programming language. You can say, you can hear, "at school/in school/in your school/at your school" etc. But not everyone choosing one of these is as particular about exact meanings as you and I.
We say "at school" more often than we do "in school" in AE, so I'm not sure I can agree with that assertion.
I really appreciate your words. But I try to learn and figure out what people really mean when they say something to me, especially if there is a subtle distinction between different expressions, and respond as appropriate as possible.
Well, maybe I was thinking too much, things aren't that complicated, in school/at school really makes no difference, but I believe that people will feel something different when you say something in different ways.
So, please correct the following sentences for me. Do most American or Canadian students would write sentences like that? (Thanks for your patience!)
Jenny failed her math exame in school today, she called and wanted to discuss some math problems with me. 'Sure', I said, 'let's meet at school!'