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  • Hello! This is Emma from mmmEnglish,

  • back with another lesson

  • on the mmEnglish Youtube channel.

  • Now in English, we say

  • "The school is on Bay Street."

  • Not "The school is at Bay Street."

  • "They live at 10 Park Road."

  • Not "She lives in 10 Park Road."

  • "The museum is in the city."

  • Not "The museum is on the city."

  • "I live at 300 King Street,

  • in an apartment, on the fourth floor."

  • These little words can cause lots of headaches

  • if English is not your first language.

  • They're called prepositions

  • and there are lots of them in English.

  • In, on, at,

  • by, with, for,

  • over, under,

  • of, to.

  • They all help to give information about the time,

  • location or direction in your English sentences.

  • in, on, at

  • and by

  • In this lesson,

  • we'll take a closer look at these

  • small but very common,

  • very useful English words.

  • And we'll concentrate on how you can use them

  • to give information about

  • the place or location of something.

  • Now, the bad news is

  • that there's no clear

  • way of knowing which preposition you need to use.

  • In fact,

  • different prepositions can be used with the same words

  • but this can change the meaning of

  • your sentence.

  • Am I at the car?

  • At the location of the car?

  • Am I in the car?

  • Or am I on the car?

  • All of these sentences are okay

  • but the meaning is different in each question.

  • Most of the time,

  • you can't just guess the correct preposition.

  • It's not really a good strategy

  • to improve your English

  • - unless you're a really lucky person!

  • The worst way to try and learn prepositions

  • is to translate them from your native language.

  • This can cause lots of problems.

  • Prepositions must be learned in chunks of words

  • or called collocations.

  • Groups of words that are often used together.

  • Like, "In the morning."

  • "At night."

  • "It depends on... (something)"

  • "He's keen on football."

  • Learning this way will help you to make

  • fewer mistakes with prepositions .

  • Instead,

  • pay attention to how native speakers

  • use these prepositions.

  • How are they used in the newspaper articles

  • that you read or stories?

  • What words are they used with?

  • And pay close attention to the general rules

  • that I'll teach you in this lesson,

  • so that you can make

  • the right choices

  • when choosing prepositions of place.

  • Let's get started with

  • "in"

  • Now the best way to think about the preposition, "in"

  • is being within something

  • inside the edges of something.

  • So let's start really simply with containers or spaces

  • that are enclosed.

  • I've got the key in my pocket.

  • There's some milk in the fridge.

  • She left it in the top drawer.

  • There's nothing left in my cup.

  • Now, it's easy to think about all of these examples

  • as being inside something

  • because the edges are really clear.

  • You can see inside them.

  • There's a clear inside and an outside.

  • Right?

  • Take our earlier example,

  • I'm in the car.

  • The car has clear edges,

  • I'm definitely inside the edges of the car.

  • We can use "in" with buildings or rooms

  • and places that can surround a person or an object

  • on all sides.

  • Can you take a seat in the waiting room please?

  • I've left my bag in your office.

  • Why don't we have a picnic in the park?

  • But there are lots of times when you need to

  • use this preposition

  • when the edges are less clear.

  • So for example,

  • with areas or regions or cities and towns.

  • I'm filming this video in Spain.

  • I grew up in Melbourne.

  • Holidaying in France is easy if you speak French!

  • Regolisa is a small village in the mountains.

  • We're going for a drive in the country.

  • Lots of people were swimming in the lake.

  • Now, all of these nouns

  • have borders or edges,

  • even if they're not really obvious or clear.

  • We can physically be located

  • inside the edges of this space.

  • Now when talking about groups of people,

  • you can often use "in".

  • She works in the finance team,

  • surrounded by people.

  • He got selected to play in the national team.

  • But there's an exception for important high-level groups

  • where members are often elected.

  • He's on the board.

  • Or they're on the committee,

  • or on the council.

  • We can also use "in" with liquids and other substances

  • to show what they contain.

  • Careful! There's a lot of chilli in that sauce.

  • There's too much sugar in soft drinks.

  • Do you have milk in your coffee?

  • Now the preposition "on"

  • is used to talk about the position of something

  • on surfaces

  • or things that can be thought-of as surfaces

  • like walls or tables.

  • My phone is on the table.

  • You can see a painting on the wall behind me.

  • We live on the fourth floor of the building.

  • Can you write it on that piece of paper?

  • He's spilled ice cream on his new jumper!

  • Now, keep thinking about this idea of

  • flat surfaces

  • because it includes roads and streets

  • and rivers.

  • The supermarket is on the corner of Martin Street .

  • Nice is on the south coast of France.

  • Now the idea of flat surfaces also includes water,

  • so rivers, oceans, lakes.

  • What's that on the water?

  • Floating on the water.

  • We'll take you out on the lake,

  • - in our boat.

  • We'll be on the lake, in our boat.

  • Okay, now let's talk about the preposition "at".

  • It's used to talk about specific places or points in space.

  • Sarah's still at school.

  • I'll meet you at the bus stop.

  • Turn left at the traffic light.

  • Now it's also used with public places and shops.

  • For example,

  • I studied design at college or school or university.

  • Let's meet at the station.

  • We have to stop at the supermarket on the way home.

  • There was a crazy guy at the library today.

  • We also use it with addresses.

  • They live at 14 Eagle Road.

  • I'll meet you at the corner

  • of Beach Street and Park Road.

  • I had a coffee at Helen's house.

  • At her house, right?

  • Careful, not to confuse the preposition with another,

  • "with".

  • I had a cup of coffee with Helen.

  • That means Helen, the person,

  • not Helen's house.

  • We can use "at" with events.

  • We met at a party.

  • He's speaking at a conference later this week.

  • So in all of these examples,

  • the preposition "at" is used to talk about

  • specific places or points in space.

  • Okay I went through quite a few examples there,

  • but let's just stop and review the rules for a minute.

  • "At" is one-dimensional.

  • Think of a map.

  • When you're looking at a map, you're referring to a

  • specific place or position in space.

  • "On" is more two-dimensional.

  • You have a flat surface

  • and you're referring to the position of

  • something or someone

  • in relation to that surface.

  • So you're recognising the space around you

  • a little more when you're using that preposition.

  • Now "in" is the sort of

  • three-dimensional preposition.

  • So when you use it,

  • you need to think about

  • the position of something

  • in relation to what surrounds it.

  • Now of course,

  • there are grey areas and many exceptions

  • that will make you

  • scratch your head and wonder, what?!

  • When you hear that expression, "grey areas"

  • it means that something is

  • unclear.

  • It's not black and it's not white,

  • it's somewhere in the middle

  • but we don't know exactly where

  • - it's unclear.

  • That's a very common expression.

  • Now there are many grey areas for prepositions

  • when you're talking about

  • the place or the location of something.

  • It's on the corner.

  • Or it's at the corner.

  • These two examples mean almost the same thing.

  • The museum is on the south side of the city.

  • So this expression, on the south side

  • or on the right side

  • or on the left side,

  • it always uses the preposition "on".

  • Your seat is on the left side.

  • Now I said before that Nice

  • is on the south coast of France

  • but Nice is also in the south of France.

  • Now there is a difference here

  • when we're referring to the flat surface

  • and the region or the area.

  • So it's that spatial difference.

  • On the south coast

  • or in the south of France.

  • It's a little hard to get your head around, right?

  • But France is a space that has edges.

  • It's enclosed so we use "in".

  • I'll see you at Melanie's house.

  • So that's the place right?

  • But I'll meet you in the kitchen.

  • It's an enclosed room or enclosed space.

  • I'll meet you at the corner of Beach Street and Park Road.

  • I saw it in the corner of the room.

  • So that's an enclosed space, right?

  • How about this one?

  • Write it on the paper

  • in your notebook,

  • at the top of the page

  • or in the corner.

  • We say I'm in the car

  • and I'm on the bus or the train.

  • So there are also times when you can use

  • two different prepositions

  • and the meaning is actually really similar

  • especially between "at" and "on"

  • Sarah's still in school.

  • Or Sarah is still at school.

  • Now these sentences mean almost exactly

  • the same thing.

  • "In" school suggests that Sarah is

  • inside the school buildings.

  • She's a student, she's learning there.

  • "At" suggests that she's at the location of the school

  • but she could be inside a building or outside

  • and she's not necessarily a student either.

  • She could be a parent visiting the school, for example.

  • I think they're at the beach

  • Or I think they're on the beach.

  • At the beach is the place.