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Prepositions (in, on or at)

 
 
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2010 11:26 am
My daughter (8) goes to an English medium private school here in Mozambique. While going through the previous days homework my wife and I were surprised at some of the answers the teacher had marked wrong and even more surprised at what she thought was the correct answer. When we questioned the teacher she said "those are the rules".

I am British and my wife is South African and while we may not fully understand the theory behind English grammar we certainly know how to speak the language. However I don't want claim I know better than someone who is (hopefully) qualified to teach English so I am seeking the opinion of someone on this forum who can verify which of the following sentences are grammatically correct.

He played a trick on me on April Fools Day.
He played a trick on me in April Fools Day.

I'll help you in a minute.
I'll help you at a minute.

I'll be ready in a few minutes.
I'll be ready at a few minutes.

I have a flat on the second floor.
I have a flat at the second floor.

I'll meet you in the morning.
I'll meet you at the morning.

I'll go to the restaurant with you in the evening.
I'll go to the restaurant with you at the evening.

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Type: Question • Score: 4 • Views: 2,861 • Replies: 11
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contrex
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2010 12:47 pm
@ahmedmoz,
He played a trick on me on April Fools Day. [right]
He played a trick on me in April Fools Day.

I'll help you in a minute. [right]
I'll help you at a minute.

I'll be ready in a few minutes. [right]
I'll be ready at a few minutes.

I have a flat on the second floor. [right]
I have a flat at the second floor.

I'll meet you in the morning. [right]
I'll meet you at the morning.

I'll go to the restaurant with you in the evening. [right]
I'll go to the restaurant with you at the evening.

The sentences not marked "[right]" are definitely wrong.


ahmedmoz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2010 01:12 pm
@contrex,
Thanks contrex, thats exactly how I have it.

Are you an English teacher or do you have a degree in English? Just so I can add credibility to my case when I go back to the teacher.

Anyone else agrees or disagrees with contrex's answers?
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2010 01:56 pm
Prepositions of Time: at, in, on

We use:

at for a precise time.

I'll meet you at three o'clock.

in for periods of time: months, years, centuries and long periods, the future and past, morning, afternoon, evening, night.

I'll help you in a minute.
I'll meet you in the morning.
I'll go to the restaurant with you in the evening.

on for days and dates

He played a trick on me on April Fools Day.

Prepositions of Place: at, in, on

In general, we use:

at for a point or village or small town

(my example) I'll wait at the corner

in for an enclosed space, region, country, town or city

I am in my house.

on for a surface

I have a flat on the second floor.
There is a lamp on the ceiling
The picture on the wall

I have a degree in English Literature (1972!) and I have had experience of teaching English as a second language to Spanish and Italian speakers, but you don't need that as your authority. The teacher is just plain wrong, and you should complain to the head teacher. Demand to see the teaching materials. Are you paying for this "education"?


JTT
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2010 03:07 pm
@ahmedmoz,
O = natural English
X = unnatural English

He played a trick on me on April Fools Day. O
He played a trick on me in April Fools Day. X

I'll help you in a minute. O
I'll help you at a minute. X

I'll be ready in a few minutes. O
I'll be ready at a few minutes. X

I have a flat on the second floor. O
I have a flat at the second floor. X

I'll meet you in the morning. O
I'll meet you at the morning. X

I'll go to the restaurant with you in the evening. O
I'll go to the restaurant with you at the evening. X
0 Replies
 
MonaLeeza
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2010 04:22 pm
I agree - the first example is correct in each case.
0 Replies
 
laughoutlood
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2010 10:15 pm
@ahmedmoz,
in an instant at that moment on that day they decided to change schools
ahmedmoz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Oct, 2010 01:44 am
@contrex,
Yes, I am paying a lot for this "education". Unfortunately in the 3rd world you dont have much choice.

Thanks JTT and MonaLeeza. Nice one laughoutloud.
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Oct, 2010 01:56 am
@laughoutlood,

Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

You don't need a degree in English to say that that teacher is in the wrong job.
(and not a native English speaker, one must presume.)
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Oct, 2010 02:39 am
@ahmedmoz,
I agree completely with Contrex. I am a native speaker of the American language. At university, i had a double major in history and English literature, and i have volunteered as a teacher of English as a second language. I don't have brass-bound credentials, but i can assure that Contrex is correct, and that not only are the second answers in each case wrong, they are just plain goofy.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Oct, 2010 11:18 am
@contrex,
Quote:
I have a degree in English Literature (1972!)


Now I see why you have so much trouble with English grammar, C. Smile

Quote:
Set: i had a double major in history and English literature,


Setanta too.
0 Replies
 
laughoutlood
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Oct, 2010 10:18 pm
@ahmedmoz,
yeah, gl mozzie
0 Replies
 
 

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