fist on hand; graphic that says 'It-At-On On'

In, At, On Video Summary

Video 009. "to be at work" – English Prepositions

  • (a piece of) playground equipment, a slide
  • a picnic table, picnic tables, a park, parks, a pond, ponds
  • a giraffe, giraffes, a tiger, tigers
  • the London Zoo, the Bronx Zoo, the Taipei Zoo

  • Alice, a software engineer, to design software
  • Ms. Rigas, an engineering professor, to teach engineering
  • Terry, a barista, a coffee shop, to make a latte = to make a caffe latte
  • Terry, a bartender, a bar, to make a cocktail
  • Dr. Chavez, an ENT doctor, an ear-nose-and-throat doctor, at work, at a park, on a break
  • on break = on a break
  • Greta, a fild producer
  • Fatima, in class, a middle school
  • Mr. Gomez, a high school teacher, in class
  • Rachel, Olivia, Emma, Sophia
  • Oscar, an elementary school
  • Erik, Noah, at recess

  • Polly, Carol, Kelly, in kindergarten, to play in a sandbox
  • Mrs. Donovan, an elementary school teacher
  • Jared, to swing on a swing
  • Lucy, at the park, to play with bubbles
  • Phoebe, at the zoo, pointing to (at) an exhibit
  • Thelma, at the llama exhibit
  • Ethan, at the camel exhibit
  • Becky, at the aquarium, to look at some fish
  • Liz, a ray
  • Tina, an unusual fish

  • This is Alice. Alice is a software designer. She’s at work. She’s working. Alice is designing software.
  • This is Ms. Rigas. Ms. Rigas is an engineering professor. She’s at work. She’s working. Ms. Rigas is teaching an engineering class.
  • This is Dr. Chavez. Dr. Chavez is an ENT doctor. She’s an ear-nose-and-throat doctor. Ear-nose-throat: ENT. She’s an ENT doctor. She works at a clinic. Dr. Chavez is at work, but she’s not working right now. She’s at a park on a break. She’s on a break at work.
  • This is Erik and Noah. They’re in elementary school. They’re at school but they’re not in class. They’re at recess.
  • This is Polly, Carol, and Kelly. They’re in kindergarten but they’re not in class. They’re at recess. They’re playing in a sandbox.

No article is used when a train station is named (see Video 008):

  • The train is at the station.
  • The train is at Grand Central Station.
  • The train is at Shinjuku Station.

The article is optional when a bus stop is named:

  • The train is at the bus stop.
  • The train is at (the) Jackson Street bus stop.

Articles are used for zoos and aquariums regardless of whether they are named.

  • Phoebe's at the zoo. Phoebe's at the San Diego Zoo.
  • Thelma's at the zoo. Thelma's at the Bronx Zoo.
  • Becky's at the aquarium. Becky's at the Florida Aquarium.
  • Liz is at the aquarium. Liz is at the Lisbon Oceanarium.

Note: There are exceptions to this rule and English speakers are not always consistent.

  • The first woman to be a curator at the London Zoo was Evelyn Cheesman, in 1920.
  • Many of the species in London Zoo could not be seen anywhere else in the country...
  • (Examples from Wikipedia)

Recess is a school break during which children play, usually outside.

Typically, kindergartners and other elementary school children have a morning recess, a lunch recess, and maybe an afternoon recess.

In junior high and high school, students typically do not have recess. Instead, they have short breaks between classes and a lunch break.

When taking a lunch break, the preposition "at" is used: to be at lunch. This is true for workers and students.

Watch Video 009 in the EwE in-at-on series on YouTube.

Download the Video 009 Worksheet.