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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > at or in    

at or in


at or in
dear teachers would u please tell me which is the correct sentence:

1- The skirt is (in) the clothes shop.
2. The skirt is (at) the clothes shop.

1. There are chillies (in) the supermarket.
2. There are chillies (at) the super market.

13 Dec 2009      


!. The skirt is in the clothes shop. ( inside)
2. There are chillies at the supermarket.

13 Dec 2009     


The skirt in the clothes shop...
The chillies at the supermarket...

13 Dec 2009     


Dear nordynour,
I am sorry but where is in your sentences  the verb TO BE ?
1. IS
2. ARE

13 Dec 2009     


I would say in for both as they are inanimate things and so are placed ´in ´ the buildings. I would use ´at ´ for people who work or use the buildings

13 Dec 2009     

Marla D.
United States

Here is a good link Nordynour.

13 Dec 2009     

Hong Kong

They are both functional and correct but with with slightly different meanings.
It all depends on the preceeding sentences!
I guess if its an exercise when only one will do, you should go for ´in ´ as it has the best general meaning.

14 Dec 2009     

alien boy

A quick paraphrase from ´Practical English Usage ´ (Swann)

in: is used for position inside large areas or when something is surrounded on all sides.
In the sentences above ´in ´ indicates that the skirt & the chillies are located physically inside the respective shopping outlets.
at: is used to talk about a position - think of a point on a map, a stage on a journey or a meeting place. It is also often used when we think about the activity that happens at a location rather than the location itself.
In the sentences above at would refer to general location. e.g there are chillies at the supermarket (not the corner store); the skirt is at the clothes shop (not the second hand shop).

14 Dec 2009