Podcast: As preposições in, on, at (lugar)

By Ana | Podcast Inglês Online

Jun 06
Inglês - Podcast As preposições in, on, at (lugar)

Hello, all. No episódio de hoje, mais um pouco sobre preposições em inglês :) Hoje, falamos sobre o uso básico das preposições inonat quando estamos falando de lugares.


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Today we are going to stick to the basics, everyone. Today we’re talking about in, on and at as prepositions of place. I’m going to give you examples of very common ways to use these three prepositions. So today we’re not going to talk about exceptions – on the contrary, what you’re going to hear are examples of the most basic, general rules of how to use in, on, and at for place.

And what are these basic, general “rules”? Here we go: we use AT, a-t, AT to communicate a specific point or location where something is taking place, or took place or is going to take place. AT is for a specific point or location. At the entrance, at the beach house, at the door, at the bus stop. We use IN when the noun, the object, or the person or whatever, is in an enclosed space. An enclosed space, in theory, is surrounded by something. Examples: a garden, a city, a country, a box, your shirt pocket. So IN an enclosed space. Now, we use ON when a person or object is located on a surface of some kind. On a surface. Here are some examples of surfaces: a wall, the ceiling, a door can be a surface, the floor, a carpet, a page.

So remember that these are general rules, and they’re pretty good guidelines for how to use in, on and at when placing something. Of course, there will be exceptions but those aren’t our focus today. Alright! Moving along to some examples.

Let’s start with AT, for place. As I said before, we use AT to communicate a specific point or location. Jack is at his desk right now. There’s someone at the door. There’s an ice cream shop at the end of the road. Mary will meet us at the bus stop. So notice how we are positioning these people… and the ice cream shop. It’s almost like we’re giving their coordinates, only… we’re not being that scientific. We’re just using common reference points. Jack is at his desk right now. The ice cream shop is at the end of the road. Christine is at Jessica’s party. “Hey, Jane, where are you? We’re at the entrance…Waiting for you.” I saw Richard at the conference.

OK  – let’s move on to IN, for place. We use IN for enclosed spaces, something with borders, surrounded by something else. I put all my old photos in a box. I left my glasses in the back of the car. What do you carry in your shirt pocket? My dad carries, like, three pens in his shot pocket. And his wallet goes in his pants pocket. And women – what’s in your bag? In my bag I have my wallet, my phone, lipstick, sunscreen, my laptop and its charger. You know the movie Wolverine? Who’s in it? I know Hugh Jackman is in it, but… who else? Who else is in this movie? Do you have any pictures in your office? Or bedroom. Who’s in the pictures? Your family, maybe? Friends? You? Tell me who’s in your pictures. Here in London, most people don’t drive. They take public transport. What’s it like in your city? My friend spent some time in Argentina last year.

And what about ON? That’s when something is located on a surface. Like a wall. There’s a painting on the wall. Don’t write on the pages of a book. Look at all the toys on the floor. Remember when man landed on the moon? Did you watch that on TV? What’s your favorite place on earth? Our office is on the third floor. Juliette is going to be on a magazine cover. And how could we forget: the book is on the table.

If you find these prepositions confusing, here’s my suggestion for you: start with this podcast. Listen to this episode, and to the other preposition episodes, a few times. Scratch that – listen to them several times until you get very familiar with the examples. Today though, for this particular episodes, stick to the examples I’ve given you.

So give me your examples, based on this podcast’s examples. Let us know in the comments and talk to you next time!


  • at, in, on (place)


scratch that = que nada

Davi 10/06/2014

Hi Ana!!

I don’t undertood the phrase “scratch that” in the context. Was it like a sarcasm?

Take care.

Jennifer 09/06/2014

The best post ever!!! I was stuck on it for a long time.Your explanation made it clear and almost simple.Thanks a lot Ana!

jonata fontela 08/06/2014

Hey Ana,this series of podcasts has been great!!!listening to a lot of examples using prepositions is much better than studying grammar rules….hehe :D

Fátima Regina 07/06/2014

Hello Ann!
Happy weekend!

This is my exampke: “Now, I am on the facebook at my desk listening to the interesting podcast of Ann about the preposition: IN,ON and AT.
Preposition in my opinion is a little boring, I guess.”

    Ana Luiza 07/06/2014

    Great, Fátima :)

    Prepositions are certainly boring if you try to memorize rules, etc… in context, it gets better.

      Fátima Regina 07/06/2014

      Ok! :)

      Happy Sunday!

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