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Which of these sentences is correct?

The importance to eat fruits and vegetables of different colors has been demonstrated at various occasions.
The importance to eat fruits and vegetables of different colors has been demonstrated on various occasions.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The preposition that goes with "occasion" is usually "on", and never "at" (unless by "occasion" one means an event or gathering, which is not the case here), so "On various occasions" sounds more natural. Note, similarly, that we can also say:

I like to eat broccoli on occasion.

but never:

I like to eat broccoli at occasion.

I would also suggest "many times" or "several times" as alternatives to "on various occasions".

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"on" indicates time; "at" suggests location, so "at the party" not "on the party", but "on occasion" is definitely correct. –  njd Jun 2 '11 at 6:39
    
@Brennan Vincent: Thank you for the answer and the suggestions ! –  Marco Jun 2 '11 at 6:40
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@njd: "on" and "at" aren't as simple as you make them sound. Compare "at 5 o'clock" and "on the bed". –  Brennan Vincent Jun 2 '11 at 6:42
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@Brennan. Agreed; however, I believe we would be amiss to ignore that I like to eat broccoli at various occasions would be perfectly acceptable as long as by occasions you mean events, such as parties, balls, galas, Bar-Mitzvahs, etc. –  snumpy Jun 2 '11 at 13:40
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@Brennan: I wouldn't suggest "many times" as an alternative myself. "On occasion" implies that it happens infrequently (occasionally, you might say :-) –  user1579 Jun 2 '11 at 15:00
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"Demonstrate at various occasions" would most naturally be understood to refer to demonstrations at parties marking important occasions - weddings and the like.

"Demonstrate on various occasions" suggests that on definite occasions such a demonstration had been given.

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These two examples mean the same thing. However, on certain occasions they can mean differently. For example, "At the table" or "on the table" means different things: one refers to beside the table, the other refers to on top of the table.

The reason "occasion" is not affected by changes of "at" or "on" is because it refers to an occurance in time, whereas geographical locations or objects are affected by the difference of prepositions. i.e. "table", which is a geographical object, is affected when "at" is changed to "on", or "on" changed to "at."

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What does this have to do with "occasion" ? –  Brennan Vincent Jun 2 '11 at 6:37
    
Idiot: Thank you for pointing out the different meanings. –  Marco Jun 2 '11 at 6:39
    
In this case, the use of "at" or "on" with occasion doesn't change the meaning of the sentence, because "occasion" to an occurrence in time. "table" refers to a geographical location or object, so "at" or "on" affects the sentence. –  Thursagen Jun 2 '11 at 6:40
    
@Marco My pleasure!:) –  Thursagen Jun 2 '11 at 7:03
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