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Prepositions of Place: at, in, on

In general, we use:

  • at for a POINT
  • in for an ENCLOSED SPACE
  • on for a SURFACE
at
POINT
in
ENCLOSED SPACE
on
SURFACE
at the corner in the garden on the wall
at the bus stop in London on the ceiling
at the door in France on the door
at the top of the page in a box on the cover
at the end of the road in my pocket on the floor
at the entrance in my wallet on the carpet
at the crossroads in a building on the menu
at the front desk in a car on a page

Look at these examples:

  • Jane is waiting for you at the bus stop.
  • The shop is at the end of the street.
  • My plane stopped at Dubai and Hanoi and arrived in Bangkok two hours late.
  • When will you arrive at the office?
  • Do you work in an office?
  • I have a meeting in New York.
  • Do you live in Japan?
  • Jupiter is in the Solar System.
  • The author's name is on the cover of the book.
  • There are no prices on this menu.
  • You are standing on my foot.
  • There was a "no smoking" sign on the wall.
  • I live on the 7th floor at 21 Oxford Street in London.

Notice the use of the prepositions of place at, in and on in these standard expressions:

at in on
at home in a car on a bus
at work in a taxi on a train
at school in a helicopter on a plane
at university in a boat on a ship
at college in a lift (elevator) on a bicycle, on a motorbike
at the top in the newspaper on a horse, on an elephant
at the bottom in the sky on the radio, on television
at the side in a row on the left, on the right
at reception in Oxford Street on the way