Prepositions: at vs in

by Hani

What is the difference between at and in?

I've already read your comment but it isn't enough for me. Please, I want a complete explanation so I can understand it very well.

Take care.
Hincerely yours,

Comments for Prepositions: at vs in

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Jan 11, 2011
by: Ola Zur

Hi Hani,

I guess you are referring to this answer:
The difference between AT and IN.

Well, here goes:

AT refers to the location of something. It doesn't say whether the object is under, above, inside or outside of something. It simply tells you WHERE something is.

For example:
"I am at home."
This sentence shows my location = home.

IN means that something is INSIDE something else.

For example:
The cake is in the fridge.
This sentence shows the position of the cake = inside the fridge.

Now, as you can see, the meanings of AT and IN are very similar. The only difference is that AT shows location, and IN shows a position inside something else.

For example:
Should you say "at the corner" or "in the corner"?

The answer is "at the corner." That is because you want to show LOCATION, you do not want to say that the corner has you inside?

Another example:
Should you say "the book is at the bag" or "the book is in the bag"?

The answer is "in the bag." That is because you want to show that the bag has the book INSIDE of it.

For the full explanation (with illustrations and exercises) you can visit this page:
Prepositions of Place: At, In or On?.

Ola Zur is the editor of, an illustrated guide to English.

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