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At and in. When do you use them?

(11 Posts)
mrsnw Fri 08-Nov-13 12:38:50

Would you say my child is at school or in school? What's the difference? Am I overthinking my grammar now? Lol xx

Optimist1 Fri 08-Nov-13 12:49:38

Pretty much interchangeable, IMO. Although I tend to use "in school" only when distinguishing between being physically in the school and being absent/on holidays etc. (Love a grammar dilemma!).

superlambanana Fri 08-Nov-13 12:55:12

I would say 'at' meaning generally, and 'in' or 'at' meaning at that particular moment.

I'd think that using 'in' in a general sense was American. But I have no idea where I've got that from!

TallulahBetty Sat 09-Nov-13 18:59:14

I would say "at school" to mean being there right now.

I would use "in school" to mean my child goes to school in general.

doolallylass Sat 09-Nov-13 22:36:59

I do the same as Tallulah smile

OldRoan Sat 09-Nov-13 22:40:34

Can I hijack slightly? I was at the station the other day and the tannoy said "on the station" (not "on the station platform", which I understand).

I do the same as Tallulah, I think..

Kleptronic Sat 09-Nov-13 22:58:44

I just googled this and the BBC World Service (gawd love them and everyone who sails with them) has this to say:

'We use 'at' for a position at a point.' So, at the third junction, take a left.
'We also use 'at' for group activities.' So, we were at a concert, in London.

For me it's one of those things - I've never thought about it before, but as soon as I read about it, and started to swap them around (e.g. we were in a concert, at London) I thought, oh yes, they are not strictly interchangeable.

That's not to say there aren't edge cases, oh no, of course there are!

Cooroo Sun 10-Nov-13 08:22:42

'In school' doesn't sound like standard UK English to me.

'What does your daughter do?' 'She's still at school' or 'she's just started school'

'Where is your daughter now?' 'She's at school'

Can't think I'd ever say 'in' but perhaps that's my age.

eggyweggies Sun 10-Nov-13 08:25:52

Agree with Coroo. " in school " sounds American to me.

SconeRhymesWithGone Tue 12-Nov-13 18:37:16

I'm American. We would definitely say "in school" to mean generally (and of course "school" for us can mean anything from nursery to doing a Ph.D at Harvard).

I think for where someone is a specific time, it might be either. "Where is Tom?" "He's in school today" or "he's at school today."

DrankSangriaInThePark Sat 16-Nov-13 13:49:08

With school it doesn't make much difference.

It would make a difference with hospital though...

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