Grammarchips (#8)



at, in or on?


The woman is in the rickshaw.

The man is at work in his shop. The shop is on Baker  Street.

The people are at a café. The chess game is on the table. The café is in a city. 

The three women are at work in a field. They have hats on their heads.

PointClipSAVE THIS RULE: *transportation

     Use in and on when you are talking about how you go somewhere.

You travel in smaller things: in a car, in a truck, in a boat. 

You travel on bigger things: on a bus, on a train, ship, or plane.

*But you say, I’m on my bike because you cannot get in a bike!  

PointClipSAVE THIS RULE: *location

    Use at,in and on when you are talking about where something is.

>At tells us the exact place of a thing. 

The man is at work.  He is not always at work.
Sometimes the man is 
at home.


 On  tells us 1) that one thing is lying on something else, or 2) it tells us a general [not exact] location.

1) The chess game is on the table.
1) The people are sitting on benches.
2) The benches are on the street, they are not inside the café.


| In | tells us that one thing is inside something else; something is in a place that is bigger than it and all around it. 

The women are in a field.
The field is 
in Cambodia.
Cambodia is 
in Asia.

     Wait! face2 Is sentence #2 wrong?!

     1) My desk is in my house.
     2) My desk is at my house. 

  AtHouse2 OnHouse3 My desk is in my house.             My desk is at my house.                             My desk is on my house!

1) In the first example you are saying that your desk is inside your house. It is not in the garden. 

2) In the second example you want to say that you have a desk at your house. It is not at your friend’s house or at your grandmother’s house. It is at your house. (It is understood that the desk is in your house and not in your garden or on the roof!) 

1 more example


My school is in the city of London.  My school is on Tea Street.  My school is at 21 Tea Street.  

I am at school now.  I am not at home.  I am in my classroom.  I am not in the library.  My books are on my desk.  

 ©InterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us: