Pesky Prepositions Part 1: Place
Prepositions are nasty little things that, quite unfortunately, are rather important when learning a language. I trip up with German prepositions pretty much every single time, so I know how frustrating (and difficult to remember) they can be. With English, to confuse matters a little further, sometimes prepositions of time and place can differ depending on whether you’re talking/listening to/reading American or British English. For example, British English would say ‘at the weekend’, while American English would say ‘on the weekend’. I say ‘on the weekend’ despite being Australian and Australians generally using British English.
Today I thought we’d wade into the waters of prepositions – not too far, don’t worry – and take a look at prepositions of place. For most of you, this will be absolute revision, but useful revision. Very often I come across quite advanced students still mixing up their prepositions, so it’s good to revisit them every now and then to make sure you’ve got them sorted.
There are three key prepositions of place that are important to get straight, because you will use them a lot when telling people where you live, where you work, where to meet for coffee, where the nearest bank is, where you’ll be spending New Years Eve etc, etc, etc. They’re also necessary for when that lost looking tourist approaches you and says, ‘excuse me, I’m looking for …’
IN, AT, ON
Small, sweet and a little bit confusing. It’s easier if we use a visual:
Pretty straight forward right?
You live at an address, on a street, in a city/suburb/country.
But what if you give someone your address, and as they are driving to your house for dinner, they call and say they are completely lost. They can’t find your house – can you give them some more information? You are going to need more prepositions to describe where your house is, and to give them some clearer directions. Eg; ‘we live next to the Sparkasse, behind the big oak tree’, or ‘we live across from a Spanish restaurant.’
This video below gives great visuals for more prepositions of place, that will allow you to go into greater detail about where something is, should you ever need to (and you will, trust me). There are also some prepositions that change meaning when given an article. Check it out, it won’t take long. It comes from this great Youtube channel.
Keeping it short and simple this week! Don’t forget to catch up on previous Englisch Macht Spaß posts, and if you have any questions or comments, I always love hearing from you.