Author Topic: Preposition "at" and "to"  (Read 5045 times)


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Preposition "at" and "to"
« on: November 24, 2010, 10:43:46 PM »
What is the correct preposition to use for this sentence?

The cheque will be sent (at or to) 123 Collin Street, Brisbane, NSW, Australia.

Joe Carillo

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Re: Preposition "at" and "to"
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2010, 10:12:10 AM »
The correct preposition for the action verb “sent” in that sentence is “to,” so the sentence should read as follows:

“The cheque will be sent to 123 Collin Street, Brisbane, NSW, Australia.”

The big question is, of course, why “to” and not “at”?

We need to use the preposition “to” because “sent” is a verb of motion. Verbs of motion need prepositions of motion to connect them to their object destination. The four other prepositions of motion are, of course, “toward,” “in,” “into,” and “onto.”

On the other hand, “at” is a preposition for indicating place and location. In particular, “at” is used for indicating a point, as in “You’ll find us at 123 Collin Street, Brisbane, NSW, Australia.” The other two prepositions for indicating location are, of course, “in” and “on.” We use “in” to indicate spaces, as in “We always meet in an exclusive club,” and “on” for surfaces, as in “There’s a colorful drawing on the wall,” and for specific addresses, as in “The hotel is on 123 Collin Street, Brisbane, NSW, Australia.” When a preposition to indicate place and location is used, the verb is usually a form of “be” or a non-motion verb.

For a more extensive discussion of preposition usage, click this link to Lesson #8 – Specific Rules for Preposition Usage in the Forum’s “Getting to Know English” section.