どっちが正しい?atかinか?|”At Shinjuku” or “in Shinjuku”?

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Hey Hey, Coach Chris here with eigo20200.jp, where we fix the English mistakes Japanese people make before the Olympics and beyond. 

OK, so, one of my students said, “we will see at Shinjuku.” Uh, see what? What will we see at Shinjuku? Many people? Many trains? And ice monster perhaps? Alright, and “at Shinjuku” I’m left wondering where “at” do you mean? At Shinjuku station? At Shinjuku Lumine? At Shinjuku First Kitchen? So, to correct both of these errors, you should do one thing. Alright, you should say, we will see each other in Shinjuku Station. Or, in Shinjuku. That’s okay, alright? In, is that area, like in ‘in Tokyo’ or ‘in Japan’ Or if you say ‘at’ you like ‘at Japan Post’. 

And if you don’t know where you are ‘at’ you should come to Eigo2020.jp. Where we are creating a rapid English training program so you can quickly master English the way you’ve always wanted to. So, subscribe and tap the notification bell down below and you can get the videos before anyone else does, alright? So, let’s train for the Olympics and beyond and remember Coach Chris is always with you.


[日本語訳へ]

Different prepositions are used depending on the type of noun that follows. 

For places, we generally use ‘in‘ or ‘at.’

in / at + place

The difference? 

In‘ is used for an area. 

At‘ is used for a particular location on the map.

So when talking about Shinjuku, which is a ward or an area, the preposition you want is ‘in.’

  • See you in Shinjuku

If ‘at’ is used instead, listeners will expect to hear a specific location. Like dropping a location pin on your google map. Hence, in the video lesson, Coach Chris was adding specific locations after ‘at Shinjuku… ‘ as in ‘see you at Shinjuku station.

So any location you could drop a pin on the map is potentially ‘at.’ 

  • at home 
  • at school 
  • at the supermarket
  • at the bank
  • at the gym 
  • at the bus stop 

But be careful. When you use the verb ‘go‘ or any other verbs that suggest traveling from point A to point B, you need to use ‘to‘ to indicate the direction or the destination. So yeah, the choice of preposition not only depends on the noun that follows but the meaning of the verb that comes before if there is any….

  • walk to school 
  • go to the bank 
  • travel to America 
  • drive to work
  • run to the store 

In‘ also is used to refer to inside of some structure. In this case, the size of the space can be anything from a wallet to the universe. 

  • We are in a meeting room
  • My wallet is in my bag

in / at + time

The same principle of ‘space vs. point’ applies to concepts of time. 

In,’ indicating an area, is the preposition used for season, year and month.

As in:

  • in spring
  • in 1999
  • in July

Just the same way ‘at‘ was used like a pin on the map, when talking about time, you can think of it as hands of a clock. It is used for hour, minute and second.

For example:

  • at 5
  • at 3:30
  • at midnight 

One more useful bit of knowledge:

When talking about morning, afternoon and evening, we use ‘in‘ because they are a period of time stretched into temporal space. 

  • in the morning
  • in the afternoon
  • in the evening

However, night is always accompanied by ‘at.’

Some people say that in the ages before the invention of electricity, night passed like a flash of a second. Because you’d just slept. No activity was possible in pitch black darkness. 

Tips on memorizing…

The trick is to build a mental image of ‘in’ and ‘at’ so you can remember no matter what the context is.

  • For ‘in,’ think of an area or space inside of something. They are both marked by a boundary. 
  • For ‘at,’ think of a point on the map or on the face of a clock. 
[日本語訳へ]

 

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