Common Preposition Patterns – to OR at?
Hello again and welcome back to the blog. Last week we looked at some common examples regarding the prepositions on and in and this week, we’re back with part 2.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the prepositions to and at. Go ahead and pause the audio, and complete the tasks below, choosing the correct preposition.
When you’ve finished, play the audio again, and we’ll look at the answers and some more common examples.
TO or AT
My husband is still __________ the office.
Afterwards, he will go ___________ the supermarket.
I think he will leave __________ nine o’clock.
Then we will meet __________ home.
When he arrives I’ll talk __________ him about money.
He’s probably going to shout __________ me.
Nice. Let’s see how many you answered correctly and look at some more examples.
- My husband is still at the office.
When dealing with a location, that is, when you are inside a building, you will usually be at that place.
I’m at the supermarket.
I’m at the library.
I’m at the museum.
Notice here how there’s a “stagnation,” meaning there is no movement. We are giving our current location, where we are now.
2. Afterwards, he will go to the supermarket.
This time you will notice there is a movement involved. The man is going from not being at the supermarket to being at the supermarket. Therefore, he is going to the supermarket, indicating a movement from one place to another.
3. I think he will leave at nine o’clock.
When referring to a specific time, always use at. Whether you’re leaving at, or arriving at, or a show is starting at, you’re finishing work at etc.
The movie starts at six.
He will be home at seven.
4. Then we will meet at home.
Again, here you’re giving a location, a specific point or place to meet. Therefore, we use at.
Let’s meet at the bakery.
I’ll meet you at Daniel’s place.
Some exceptions are when you specify a street name. In this case, you would usually meet on the specific street:
See you on West Road.
Can you meet me on North Street?
5. When he arrives I’ll talk to him about money.
In this example, the word “to” is often interchangeable with the word with. The use of “with” can imply that the conversation is more of a two-way dialogue, whereas the word at can imply that you are the only person talking, or that it is you who has something to say to the other person. A good example of this is when someone talks to an audience (the audience do not talk back).
Despite this, it is very common to use to in all contexts where there will be a conversation:
I spoke to him yesterday.
She hasn’t spoken to him in ages.
Can you talk to him on Tuesday?
6. He’s probably going to shout at me.
This is another example where the action is being done towards somebody else.
This example, in particular, has rather negative connotations.
He shouted at me, and I shouted at him.
He’s always laughing at me.
Why are you poking fun at me?
If you shout to somebody, that implies you are trying to get their attention.
I shouted to him from across the street.
Well, that’s all for this time. I hope you found this useful, and as always, please leave a comment if you have any more examples you’d like to share.