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“at” and “in” when referring to location.

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Today I want to talk about the difference between “at” and “in” when you’re referring to a location.

We see a lot of second language learners confuse these two words in writing and speaking.

For example: I was born at Kedah.

The correct word is actually “in”, not “at”.

When you’re referring to a large area like a town, city, state or country, you need to say “in”.

I was born in Kedah.
I work in Shah Alam.
Chun Li has been living in England for the past seven years.

So when do you use “at”?

We use “at” to refer to a specific place or building.

Jaya was writing at her desk.
I’m at the bank right now.
Siti was having dinner at a nice restaurant.

You could say “in” if you want to emphasise that you’re physically in that location.

I’m in the bank.
Siti is in a restaurant.
Ahmad is in his room.

Now there are more situations of using “at” and “in” to refer to locations, but I’ve just covered the common mistake that second language learners make.

I hope this has been helpful! We’ll talk to you again soon!

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Hi there!

We’re Azimah, Amnah and Aisya from Malaysia. We created My English Matters as an online platform to help people improve their English.

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