In vs. At

'In' and 'at' are prepositions that are used for showing time. In this lesson, we will learn their uses and differences.

"In" vs. "At" in the English grammar

What is Their Main Difference?

The main difference between prepositions 'in' or 'at' is in their degree of specificity.

Talking about Location

Both 'in' and 'at' can be used as prepositions of place. 'In' is generally used for larger, more general locations or areas, such as countries or cities; while 'at' is used to indicate a specific point or location within a larger area or space. It is used to describe a specific place or position. For example:

She has been living in Zurich.

He is currently at Lexington street.

Here, the location of the subject is specified.

Additionally, 'in' is used to indicate that something or someone is inside an enclosed space. It is used to describe a location that is surrounded by boundaries or limits. For example:

The keys are in the drawer.

The book is in the backpack.

Talking about Time

'In' and 'at' can also be used as prepositions of time to talk about dates and time. We use 'in' to talk about non-specific times such as 'morning,' 'evening,' 'afternoon'. 'At', on the other hand, is used to indicate a specific moment in time such as 'noon', 'midnight,' or even a specific hour. Take a look at the following examples:

I always read in the morning.

He will meet us at 7 o'clock.

Are They Interchangeable?

The answer is no. Replacing 'in' with at' or vice versa will change the meaning and even affect the grammaticality of the sentence as certain verbs are used with one and not the other. So you must pay attention to their differences and use each in the appropriate context.

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