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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > prepositions    



What is correct 
to play on the playground
at the playground
in the playground
to stay at the hotel/  in the hotel
thanks a lot.

7 Nov 2011      


at -used to say where something/somebody is or where something happens
I �ll be at home all morning.
I met her at the hospital.
We �re staying at a fabulous hotel.
in- at a point within an area or a space
The kids were playing in the street.
We stayed in the same hotel.

to play on/in the playground


7 Nov 2011     

Costa Rica

Hello Kenab,

I �ll let others give you the grammatical reasons but as a native English speaker, I would say I �m going to play "AT" the play ground. 

As for the second question, you could use either example depending on the meaning.
For example. "We are staying at the hotel, not at my daughter �s house."

However if someone asked to meet you at the hotel, they might say, "Will you be in the hotel or outside by the pool?" The use of "in" would be specific to your location while you are staying "at" the hotel.

I hope this helps.

7 Nov 2011     


hi kenad,

on= over something, on top of...
the dog is on the bed=the dog is on top of the bed
i �m on the house= i �m on top of the house, on the ceilling 
at the is use to talk about places in general
at the bank, at the store, at the mall, at the supermarket, at the park, at the zoo
there are some exceptions where you don �t use the: at school, at home, at work, at church, at a specific store 4x at wal-mart, at mc donald �s, at sam �s club, at city-bar etc.

and in the is to talk about a specific place.
in the veggie section, in the food section, in the bathroom, in the living room, in the dinning room, in the bedroom 

so you can say 

The kids are at school in the play ground on the swings
I �ll meet my friend at the hotel in the lobby.


8 Nov 2011     

United States

I half agree with Cheryl about the playground. Her example was a general statement, so I would agree with "I �m going to play at the playground". However, "The children are playing on the playground" (a specific activity and place - a very small distinction, I know). I would never say "in the playground".

8 Nov 2011     


I would say �in the playground � if there was a small fenced area with playground equipment in a park, or even at McDonald �s.
At McDonald �s:- �Where �s Johnny? � �He �s in the playground. �
At the park:- While the older children played cricket, the younger ones were in the playground where their mother could keep an eye on them.
Because the area is enclosed you have to go into it, so you are in the playground in this case.

8 Nov 2011     


sorry, I would never say at the playground, I�d say in the playground, 
We can say in a country, a town, a village, a square, a street, a room, a forest, a woo, a field, a deset,or anywhere which has boundaries or is enclosed.
We can be in or at a building, in means inside only; at could  be inside or in the grounds or just outside.(grammer A.J. THOMSON/A.V. MARTINET)
I just can�t imagine children at a playground, they would normally be in it playing.

8 Nov 2011     

United States

Where are your children?
They �re at the playground.
They �re at school.
They �re at the zoo.
They �re at their aunt �s house.
We frequently use "at" for a general location away from where the speaker is.


14 Nov 2011     


MANY THANKS TO MARIEC, YANOGATOR, VEROSMILE, 5PURAVIDA5, UESLTEACHER, for your answers on preposition at, in. You �ve been a great help.  Good night, Kenab

15 Nov 2011