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  #41  
Old 29.07.2011, 11:25
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

My English teacher in the 8th grade would not allow us to use the word "got" in any of our papers. I recommend we eliminate the word entirely! There is almost always a better word to use.
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  #42  
Old 29.07.2011, 11:45
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

It is also more typical for an American to simply use "I have" rather than "I've got". I have many American colleagues who would say "I have two sisters", which is something I'd never say.
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  #43  
Old 29.07.2011, 11:52
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

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Hi, would you have the time to help me with the following language / grammar questions ?

1. What is the difference between: "I was in Indianapolis" and "I was at Indianapolis".

2. What is the difference between "You've got me there" and "You got me there" ?

Thanks
Tom
Wow three pages of this?

You can't be "at" a city. You can only be "in" a city.

and while your second one is neither right nor wrong technically, it refers to the present, not the past.

You got me there -- past tense
(but more likely to say "you got me on that one" for the past)

You've got me there -- present tense


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My English teacher in the 8th grade would not allow us to use the word "got" in any of our papers. I recommend we eliminate the word entirely! There is almost always a better word to use.
I don't get what you mean.
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  #44  
Old 29.07.2011, 11:56
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

Do you mean you don't understand what I mean?
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  #45  
Old 29.07.2011, 12:04
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

Attachment 30180
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Last edited by weejeem; 14.10.2011 at 16:03.
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  #46  
Old 29.07.2011, 15:37
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

I've palmed my face so many times reading this thread that my skin is starting to wear thin...
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  #47  
Old 29.07.2011, 15:41
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

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My English teacher in the 8th grade would not allow us to use the word "got" in any of our papers. I recommend we eliminate the word entirely! There is almost always a better word to use.
I GOT bored reading some of these answers...
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  #48  
Old 29.07.2011, 17:07
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

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You're right I didn't ask him for help though, in fairness, the OP addressed his question to speakers of English without qualifying which particular brand of English he'd like (to have gotten?)
American & Canadian English ... I tried to loose my accent but I can't do it here in Switzerland, too many English speakers from different countries, all I get is mishmash. Which is why I'm going back to a rough Swiss accent that is at least identifiable.
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  #49  
Old 29.07.2011, 17:15
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

I was at Indianapolis.

It was a great race, saw some sick crashes.

specifics :P
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  #50  
Old 29.07.2011, 17:22
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

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<snip>I was at Indianapolis, may be spoken but is grammatically inaccurate - for an event, you should say: "I was at the (definite article required) Indianapolis 500 (additional clarification required)
<snip>


I was at London Bridge
I was at Titlis
I was at Barfuzerplatz

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<snip>
In the first instance, 'in' clearly indicates a place since you can be 'in' a city, not 'at' a city. The second sentence is a bit ambiguous since, you wouldn't ever say, "I was at Chicago", for example. You would say, "I was in Chicago, at the train station, on track 5."<snip>
Q: Which station were you at when you realised you'd missed your stop?
A: At Chicago

Not as simple as all that.

Additional clarification may be helpful - when isn't it? - but not as part of the grammar of the sentence/language... Context to both the OP's question and the answers given, is, as ever, missing.
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  #51  
Old 29.07.2011, 19:10
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

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I've palmed my face so many times reading this thread that my skin is starting to wear thin...
At least it's not gotten your goat; there's nothing worse than an ill-gotten goat, I kid ewe not.
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  #52  
Old 29.07.2011, 19:36
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

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Q: Which station were you at when you realised you'd missed your stop?
A: At Chicago

Not as simple as all that.

Additional clarification may be helpful - when isn't it? - but not as part of the grammar of the sentence/language... Context to both the OP's question and the answers given, is, as ever, missing.
But, in that specific example, Chicago isn't the city, but the Chicago [station], city unspecified (since there could be a Chicago station in a different city). The original guide that you can be 'in' a city, but not 'at' a city still holds, as I suspect the OP understands the context even if it was left out for intentional debate such as this.

As I said earlier, prepositional phrases are difficult to master and not without rules but are best learned through reading, listening to English as it is spoken, etc. rather than dissecting the grammar that even most natives get wrong if pressed to diagram the sentence for clarity.

When I was learning a particularly difficult language with draconian grammar, I found it easier, after trying too hard to get the grammar correct by relying on the books, to simply listen to how the language sounded and watched a lot of local news and other programs where I could rely on the language being mostly correct to guide my choices in words and endings. It worked rather well.
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  #53  
Old 29.07.2011, 19:41
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

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But, the original guide that you can be 'in' a city, but not 'at' a city still holds, as I suspect the OP understands the context even if it was left out for intentional debate such as this.

Q: "How did you get on in London?"
A: "I didn't reach London. The car broke down at Birmingham."

Next, please.
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  #54  
Old 29.07.2011, 19:49
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

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Q: "How did you get on in London?"
A: "I didn't reach London. The car broke down at Birmingham."

Next, please.
That's a different context and case. As I said, there are no simple 'rules' to follow and the grammar is treacherous in many cases so it's easier to simply learn by example.
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  #55  
Old 29.07.2011, 21:28
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

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You can't be "at" a city. You can only be "in" a city.

and while your second one is neither right nor wrong technically, it refers to the present, not the past.

You got me there -- past tense
(but more likely to say "you got me on that one" for the past)

You've got me there -- present tense I don't get what you mean.
I think most posters seem to agree that the correct preposition of place for a city, is to be in it, with at as the correct one for an event.

But there seems more confusion over the second query , with it appearing to depend on the perceived meaning of the sentences - perhaps a little easier to work out if they were read in context of a larger text.

Personally, I read it the same way as KF and one other poster, that one is present tense and one is past. Howewer, I was reading "You've got me there," as meaning that I don't know the answer to a question, not that I don't understand.

"You got me," I read as being a colloquial, past tense response for either a posed question, or for being outsmarted at something."
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  #56  
Old 29.07.2011, 21:35
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

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Q: "How did you get on in London?"
A: "I didn't reach London. The car broke down at Birmingham."

Next, please.
That may sound correct (argue it as "common English usage" if you like) but I agree with previous posters. Therefore I think the car broke down in Birmingham. If you are using "at" then there needs to be another word added. For example, "The car broke down at Birmingham station."
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  #57  
Old 30.07.2011, 14:14
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

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That may sound correct (argue it as "common English usage" if you like) but I agree with previous posters. Therefore I think the car broke down in Birmingham. If you are using "at" then there needs to be another word added. For example, "The car broke down at Birmingham station."

No. See #3.


at
preposition
1. (used to indicate a point or place occupied in space); in, on, or near: to stand at the door; at the bottom of the barrel.

2. (used to indicate a location or position, as in time, on a scale, or in order): at zero; at noon; at age 65; at the end; at the lowest point.

3. (used to indicate presence or location): at home; at hand.

4. (used to indicate amount, degree, or rate): at great speed; at high altitudes.

5. (used to indicate a direction, goal, or objective); toward: Aim at the mark. Look at that.
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  #58  
Old 30.07.2011, 15:28
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

Thanks for that summary. Do you have the equivalent one for the use of "in," especially in relation to it as a preposition of place, please? I don't think your number 3 quite covers the usage in the case of a city and am curious about it.
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  #59  
Old 30.07.2011, 16:18
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

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Thanks for that summary. Do you have the equivalent one for the use of "in," especially in relation to it as a preposition of place, please? I don't think your number 3 quite covers the usage in the case of a city and am curious about it.
In the case of a city, the name is being used synecdochally, so 3 does cover it.

Thus, when I say that I "broke down at Birmingham", this means that I broke down in the somewhere in the vicinity of Birmingham, and is not the same thing as breaking down "in Birmingham".
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  #60  
Old 31.07.2011, 22:26
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Re: Two questions for English speakers

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That's a different context and case.
And how, exactly, do you know the full context and case of this question?

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1. What is the difference between: "I was in Indianapolis" and "I was at Indianapolis".
Neither is wrong. If someone told me they were at Indianapolis, I would assume they were at the Indie 500 (or another "named" event) - of course further clarification and context would let me know if they meant "in", but you seem to have missed this bit.
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