Preposition: The difference between in and at

Preposition seems to be an easy word class in English mainly because it consists of tons of two letters. Also, some students actually believe it is not as important as others such as verbs, nouns, or adjectives.  

The funniest thing is a preposition is the most difficult part of speech in English that many students have had challenges with. However, if you are struggling with prepositions, below is the explanation of a few prepositions you should know.  

"In and At" are likes of the preposition that works together in a separate route. They are mainly used for prepositions of time and prepositions of place. Thus, to use them properly both in write-ups or when you communicate, one has to know their difference.

Either used to state time, describe places, or show places is used when an unspecific time or places are discussed or foregrounded. To state time, in is used for months, years, part of the day, and duration. To describe places, in is used for a place inside a place, a geographical location and not exact places. However, In is used in all because they are unspecific times and places. 

Examples are:

To state time:   

  • It rained in August last year. (no one knows the exact time in august, is it throughout the month, or some days in the month. Unspecified)
  • These clothes are meant to be worn in summer. (unspecified)
  • The country's status was bad in January. (unspecified)
To describe a place:

  • I am currently in London. (There are many places in London when the person in question get there, how will he locate you? Unspecified)
  • You will meet the director in Gusau. (Where in Gusau? Unspecified)
  • She was in school when the accident occurred. (where exactly in the school compound? Unspecified)
At is opposite to in. It is used when a specific time and place are discussed. At is used when exact time, mealtime, a specific position, areas, age, events, meeting place, point of direction, and targets are discussed. All of these are specific or exact. The reason why At best fit for each of them.  

Examples are:

To state time:
  • Please sir, can we proceed with the conversation at 8:00 pm today? (Specified)
  • I was at Bola's house when you called. (If you get to Bola's house at that moment, you will see her. Specified)
  • Mrs. Ibrahim got married at age 21. That's so amazing. (specified)
To describe a place:
  • All students who failed Egl306 should meet me at my office. (the office is known already to the students. Specified)
  • I met Lawrence at the liberty road basketball field. (Specified)

  • Meet me in my office. (Incorrect because you are not talking about an unspecific place)
           Meet me at my office. (Correct because it is known to the person.)

  • Let us meet at the king's concert at 1:oopm. (Correct because the place is exact and the time is exact)
          Let us meet in king's concert in 1:00 pm. (Incorrect)

  • Meet me at School at 1:00 pm. (At school is incorrect because the school is a large compound, where exactly do you want me to meet you? Unspecified. At 1:00 pm is correct because the time is exact)
         Meet me at the library in school at 1:00 pm. (Correct. The sentence described an exact place and stated a specific time.

The logic is very simple.

"At" is used for specific/exact place or time and "in" is used for unspecified place or time. kindly take your time to read and study the two. However, if you still can not comprehend, make use of Quillbot. It's a good grammar checker that will help you write off or clear all your preposition errors. To sign up for it, click here. 

Do you need any writing or academic assistance? Contact us! 

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