Conception Of City: “In” Or “At”
When it comes to choosing between “in” and “at” with a city, the decision is based on the speaker’s conception of the city itself. While both prepositions refer to the location of the city, they convey different nuances in meaning.
“In” For Two-Dimensional Living And Working
The preposition “in” is typically used when the city is perceived as a two-dimensional place where people live and work. For example, one might say, “I live in Frankfurt” to indicate their place of residence within the city.
This usage emphasizes the larger spatial context of the city as a whole.
“At” For Single Point Or Specific Place In City
On the other hand, “at” is employed when the city is seen as a single point or when referring to a specific place within the city. For instance, if someone mentions that “The plane stops at Frankfurt,” they are highlighting the city as a specific location rather than the broader concept of residing within it.
It is worth noting that there is no significant difference in the usage of these prepositions between British and American English speakers. The choice between “in” and “at” remains consistent across both linguistic variants.
Unconventional Expressions: “A Hotel At Las Vegas”
While the general guidelines suggest using “in” for cities, there are some unconventional expressions where “at” is used instead. For example, one might say, “We stayed at a hotel at Las Vegas,” or “She was living at London.” These expressions deviate from the norm and are less commonly used.
“In A City” As Living, Breathing World
When we use the phrase “in a city,” we imply that the city is a living, breathing world. This usage often suggests a sense of immersion and connection to the city’s culture, people, and everyday life.
It signifies that something is happening or existing within the city itself.
“At A City” For Specific Places Within City
Contrastingly, when we say “at a city,” we are referring to a specific place within the city. This might be a train station, a town center, or any other noteworthy location.
The usage of “at” emphasizes the function or significance of that particular place within the city rather than the city as a whole.
“In” More Commonly Used Than “At” For Cities
In general, the preposition “in” is more frequently used when referring to a city. For example, we often hear phrases like “I live in London” or “I work in New York.” These constructions are more common in everyday speech.
However, it is important to note that “at” can be used when the location explicitly includes the city’s name, such as “at London” or “at New York.”
In conclusion, the choice between “in” and “at” when discussing cities depends on the speaker’s perspective of the city and the specific context in which it is mentioned. While “in” is more commonly used and denotes a two-dimensional living and working environment, “at” is employed when referring to a specific point or place within the city.
Both prepositions have their unique nuances and play a significant role in conveying the intended meaning.