It is incredible how short words such as “in”, “at” and “on” can cause a real headache. The three words have the same meaning in Spanish, “en”, but in English each one has a different meaning, so it is particularly difficult for the Spanish speakers to use the words properly. And, to complicate matters even further, there are plenty of exceptions.
This general outline may help you:
– Places thought as a certain POINT/place.
- I’m at Nep English School.
- I’m waiting for you at the airport.
- My brother is at home.
- I’ll meet you at Pedro’s wedding.
- I live at nº 11, High Road.
– Used for enclosed spaces:
- He learnt English while he was in prison.
- She is in class right now.
- After the accident, his car ended up in the water.
- I´m in the car talking on my mobile.
-For towns/cities and countries:
- I live in Ibiza.
– Talking about a SURFACE:
- I left the blanket on the sofa.
- I spent the day on the beach.
– Public transport
- We met on a plane.
- I usually read the newspaper while I’m on the bus.
- I watched the interview on television.
- I read his blog post on the internet.
– With “farm”, “premises”, “floor”, “island”.
– For expressions like: “On the right”, “on the left”, “on the way”.
OFTEN CONFUSED: AT and IN. Compare:
- I will meet you IN the hotel lobby (enclosed space).
- I will meet you AT the entrance of the hotel (a “meeting point”).