As I explain in the video (and apologize for), it will be necessary for you to memorize when you use the prepositions of place in, on and at. I have no doubt that Portuguese will interfere from time to time. Fear not! And worry not! It is normal and generally has no negative consequences on comprehension. It can, however, make for some funny gaffes (mistakes) in English. Before I tell you the funny story, I've included a handy list of common prepositional expressions that you can study and memorize, and then forget, and then have to study again and use and then forget. Unfortunately, that's how we learn languages!
Now, a funny moment with in and on (it turns out that at is not as funny as the other two). They say that you should not laugh when your students make a mistake. I say that's silliness. Laughter is the best medicine, after all. And a student and I laughed until we cried at one of her misspoken prepositions! Because the preposition em in Portuguese can be used for so many things, the possibility for mistakes is quite inevitable. So when a student says they had a meeting "on the hotel", well, the image placed in my mind is pretty funny! And we can forgive mothers for leaving their babies "on the table" to have dinner. Not all of us grow up eating dinner "at the table" (which is the correct preposition!). The stories are many, and so are the expressions, so here is the (hopefully) helpful list:
- your wallet is in your pocket
- your cell phone is in your hand
- you walk in the park
- I ate in my living room
- you have something in mind (plan)
- you live in a neighborhood, in a city, in a state, in a country
- you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of a movie
- if you walk in the street, a car hits you
- if you forget your prepositions, you will not be in trouble!
- you get in a car
- you fall in love
- there's a stain on your tie
- there's a bug on your hand
- you skate on the ice
- I ate dinner on the floor (true story)
- there's something on your mind (thought)
- you live on a continent, on a planet
- I work on the 3rd floor
- you sing doo-wop on the corner
- if you walk on the street, you are on the sidewalk
- you live on a street (Elm St.)
- you get on a bus, train, plane, subway, bike, skateboard, horse
- you live at home
- you work at work
- you also work at the office
- you eat at the restaurant...
- ...at the table
- something starts at the beginning...
- ...and ends at the end
- you meet friends at the mall
- you start at the bottom...
- until you arrive at the top
- you arrive at the end of the line...
- ...and buy your tickets at the front of it
- you live at an address (716 Elm St.)
This list will go on and on forever if I don't stop now! But I think you have an idea how these prepositions work. Just remember, prepositions are the hardest bits to learn in any language, so don't stress out too much about them. Have fun, laugh a little and enjoy your day at the beach!