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I have the hat which has a snap on/at the back of the hat.

Which preposition to use here?

This is the sort of thing the sentence refers to: Baseball cap with snap-fix strap at the back

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It is not a preposition. –  Andrew Leach May 13 '13 at 13:42
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I wasn't sure whether it should have been at or in. Actually any of on/at/in can be used; but normally you would not repeat "the hat" at the end of the sentence. Just use "...the back of it," as it refers back to hat. –  Andrew Leach May 13 '13 at 13:47
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I didn't see this clarified for you so here's this..."in the back" doesn't have to mean "inside the back". It's one of the goofy idioms that is not exactly intuitive. For example, if I said, "Let's meet at the abandoned warehouse, in the back". While it could mean inside, in the back, it could also mean at the back of the building. So . . . if someone asks where are the snaps on the hat, you could say "in the back". :-) –  Kristina Lopez May 13 '13 at 17:44
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@KristinaLopez While not disputing what Kristina says, I think I should point out that (if I understand correctly) she's discussing American usage. In British usage, I don't think it would be common for "in the back" to be used in the ways described: "in the back" would tend to mean "inside the back". –  TrevorD May 13 '13 at 23:40
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@TrevorD, sorry, yes, American English usage. –  Kristina Lopez May 13 '13 at 23:57

1 Answer 1

up vote 0 down vote accepted

The prepositions 'at' and 'on' can both serve as 'prepositions of place' and the choice depends on whether you are trying to describe where on the hat (directionally) the snap is, in which case 'at' would be the appropriate word, or the surface on which the snap resides (in which case 'on' would be more appropriate).

If you're primary concern here is how to refer to these hats, they are often referred to as "snapback" hats or "snapbacks", and are marketed as such (e.g. the NBA has a whole line of 'Snapback Hats')

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In British usage, I would say "at the back". Incidentally, I didn't even understand the reference to "snap" without enlarging the picture and studying it carefully. We certainly wouldn't call these just "snap(s)", although we might call them "snap fasteners". And (at least to this Brit) "snapback(s)" is a whole new language - and I didn't know it's a baseball hat until I read it in one of the comments! –  TrevorD May 13 '13 at 23:46
    
@TrevorD sorry, forgot to mention that this is very much my American-English insight! It must be seeping into the British (slang) lexicon somehow as I've heard 'snapback' and 'chav' used in the same sentence and 'chav' (the word) doesn't really seem to have made it to this side of the pond. –  batpigandme May 14 '13 at 12:40
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Isn't 'Chav' often used to describe aggressive teenagers, of white working class background, who repeatedly engage in anti-social behaviour ? –  Edward Octavianus Pakpahan May 18 '13 at 9:26
    
I actually knew it was called snapback. I just use the snap to describe my confusion, sorry. And thanks for the explanation. 'At' means directionally, and On means the surface. I get it now. Thanks. –  Edward Octavianus Pakpahan May 18 '13 at 9:28
    
@Edward Octavianus Pakpahan Yep, you've got chav right. Snapbacks have, apparently, made it into the chav style repertoire- resulting in their co-mingling in a sentence! Though, who knows how preposition use fits into that world... –  batpigandme May 18 '13 at 9:47

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