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"in" or "at"?! - Forum anglais - Forum Babel
"in" or "at"?!

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Poisson rouge



Inscrit le: 08 Sep 2006
Messages: 93
Lieu: Hansestadt Hamburg (Allemagne)

Messageécrit le Thursday 14 Sep 06, 22:40 Répondre en citant ce message   

Just a question about prepositions...

My mother and I were writing an e-mail to the family and wondering about which preposition to use. The sentence was:

"we will be arriving in Waterloo at ... pm" (ok, now everyone knows where I'm going on holiday! mort de rire )

We did have the impression that one should use "at" when talking about a station but "in" sounds better here... Is it because Waterloo station is covered (and therefore makes us want to put "in") or because we want to avoid writing "at" twince in the same sentence?

What do you think and what would you have written?
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Le garde-mots



Inscrit le: 22 Dec 2005
Messages: 744
Lieu: Lyon

Messageécrit le Friday 15 Sep 06, 0:26 Répondre en citant ce message   

Obviously "at". I don't think "in" is correct is this sentence.
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Poisson rouge



Inscrit le: 08 Sep 2006
Messages: 93
Lieu: Hansestadt Hamburg (Allemagne)

Messageécrit le Friday 15 Sep 06, 10:49 Répondre en citant ce message   

But don't you think

"we will be arriving at Waterloo at 5 pm" sounds strange because of the repetition of "at"?

It obviously should be "at" ("I arrive at the station..." for example), but we somehow find it strange. Could it be because we name the station? We'll look it up.

Any comments from anybody else?
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Poisson rouge



Inscrit le: 08 Sep 2006
Messages: 93
Lieu: Hansestadt Hamburg (Allemagne)

Messageécrit le Friday 22 Sep 06, 1:20 Répondre en citant ce message   

I had a think about it and "googled" various possibilities. My conclusions are: you can say "arriving in/at Waterloo" but only "arriving in Waterloo station" (according to the Eurostar site and other British sites!).

In the sentence "arriving in Waterloo", Waterloo is treated as a place (such as in "arriving in London") and you can use "in" because the word "station" is not mentioned. If you do mention it, you can't say anything else than "at Waterloo station", of course. I'm not sure it's very clear, is it?!
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avallon



Inscrit le: 29 Sep 2006
Messages: 16
Lieu: Norwich, UK

Messageécrit le Friday 29 Sep 06, 7:07 Répondre en citant ce message   

Hi, most of the time it is "we arrive at 5pm"

using twice "at" in a same sentence is ok in english!

Maybe you have another mothertongue ex. french for which it is better using other words then a repetitive one. I, as a french quebec native, I had difficulties when learning norwegian exactly because of that little particularity. We are formed to used synonym in french contrary to english or norwegian.

Hope it helped you a bit :)
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Gaillimh



Inscrit le: 12 Nov 2005
Messages: 366
Lieu: Aberdeen (Ecosse)

Messageécrit le Saturday 25 Nov 06, 1:00 Répondre en citant ce message   

Other question:

If you want to say you are located in a given place, what motivates your use of in? of at? Has it anything to do with the importance/ size of the place? confus

I am ... London.
I am ... Stratford upon Avon
I am ... the seaside.

Thank you very much for your help... très content
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José
Animateur


Inscrit le: 16 Oct 2006
Messages: 11043
Lieu: Lyon

Messageécrit le Saturday 25 Nov 06, 12:48 Répondre en citant ce message   

Without much doubt about it, I'd say :
* I am IN London, and IN Stratford upon Avon (location, nothing to do according to me with the size of the place)
* but I am AT the seaside (or BY the sea)
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Poisson rouge



Inscrit le: 08 Sep 2006
Messages: 93
Lieu: Hansestadt Hamburg (Allemagne)

Messageécrit le Saturday 25 Nov 06, 20:17 Répondre en citant ce message   

Sorry I've just read the messages...
Well I am supposed to be bilingual and so English IS my mother tongue!! But I must say that living in France sometimes makes me doubt about some things. The funny thing is that I asked my mother and she had the same doubts about in or at in this particular sentence. And she's 100% British!! I'll ask the rest of the family at Christmas then to settle it!
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Gaillimh



Inscrit le: 12 Nov 2005
Messages: 366
Lieu: Aberdeen (Ecosse)

Messageécrit le Saturday 25 Nov 06, 22:54 Répondre en citant ce message   

alright.

sourire However, I am absolutely certain that in class, our teachers use the preposition at with town/ city names; and most of them are native speakers (I cannot ask them since I am abroad!)
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Poisson rouge



Inscrit le: 08 Sep 2006
Messages: 93
Lieu: Hansestadt Hamburg (Allemagne)

Messageécrit le Monday 27 Nov 06, 19:24 Répondre en citant ce message   

Could it have been something like "he arrived at London airport on Tuesday"? In that case it IS "at" because London is used as an adjective and "at" refers to "airport"...
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José
Animateur


Inscrit le: 16 Oct 2006
Messages: 11043
Lieu: Lyon

Messageécrit le Monday 27 Nov 06, 20:48 Répondre en citant ce message   

Sorry, but "I am AT London" is just non-sense to me!
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Poisson rouge



Inscrit le: 08 Sep 2006
Messages: 93
Lieu: Hansestadt Hamburg (Allemagne)

Messageécrit le Tuesday 28 Nov 06, 0:25 Répondre en citant ce message   

Good God, of course it is!! I'm not trying to say anything like that! I'm just saying that in some expressions you can find "at" + "London" but only if it's followed by a noun!
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José
Animateur


Inscrit le: 16 Oct 2006
Messages: 11043
Lieu: Lyon

Messageécrit le Tuesday 28 Nov 06, 12:40 Répondre en citant ce message   

No problem Poisson Rouge, I was just referring to Gallimh's list as I thought we were supposed to answer it.
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Poisson rouge



Inscrit le: 08 Sep 2006
Messages: 93
Lieu: Hansestadt Hamburg (Allemagne)

Messageécrit le Tuesday 28 Nov 06, 16:59 Répondre en citant ce message   

embarrassé sorry, got carried away!
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Brian



Inscrit le: 01 Dec 2006
Messages: 24
Lieu: Beziers

Messageécrit le Friday 01 Dec 06, 11:35 Répondre en citant ce message   

Poisson rouge a écrit:
But don't you think

"we will be arriving at Waterloo at 5 pm" sounds strange because of the repetition of "at"?

It obviously should be "at" ("I arrive at the station..." for example), but we somehow find it strange. Could it be because we name the station? We'll look it up.

Any comments from anybody else?


"What time does your train get in? l'll come to the station to meet you"
"It's supposed to arrive at five fifty five, but last time we didn't get to Waterloo until half past six"
"I'll meet you at the station at six o'clock , under the clock on platform 1. "
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