Is it correct to use "at" followed by a place name (city, town, village, etc.)? I've been seeing phrases like "a hotel at Las Vegas" or "she was living at London" quite a lot recently. Is this a difference between British and US English, perhaps?

  • 1
    This looks like it should probably be migrated to English Language Learners
    – Matt
    Aug 31, 2013 at 22:29
  • 1
    That usage of "at" is common in Indian English.
    – user19148
    Aug 31, 2013 at 22:37
  • Normal British usage would be "in a place"; e.g. in London; in Las Vegas.
    – TrevorD
    Aug 31, 2013 at 23:41
  • Thanks, Trevor. Thing is, I can't find if this is an Americanism or just substandard. Carlo, Didn't know it is common in Indian Eng, but I've seen this usage a lot in American publications. Mat, don't take the trouble. Cheers.
    – Ana
    Aug 31, 2013 at 23:57
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    @Ana: In America you would normally be in a City, but you can also be at work, a friend's house, or at something which is close to, but not inside a city, such as the music festival at Glastonbury in the UK.
    – Matt
    Sep 1, 2013 at 0:09

2 Answers 2


The choice of in or at with a city depends on how speakers conceive that city in the context of the statement they are making.

If the city is conceived as a two-dimensional place in which to live and work, then in is the usual preposition. If, on the other hand, the city is conceived as a single point rather than as a place with dimensions, then at is the common choice.

This explains the difference between sentences such as:

I live in Frankfurt. / The plane stops at Frankfurt on the way to Seoul.

The meeting took place at Potsdam. / There was an explosion in Potsdam yesterday.

On this basis, the expressions a hotel at Las Vegas and she was living at London are the idiosyncratic choices of individual speakers. I am not aware of any significant patterns of difference between BE and AE speakers.

  • 5
    Only two-dimensional? I usually consider places to live and work as having three dimensions … Sep 1, 2013 at 9:29
  • 3
    you forget about time, @JanusBahsJacquet
    – juanmf
    Sep 21, 2017 at 5:47

We use the word "At" for a stop on a journey: We stopped at a nice village. The train to Manchester stops at Birmingham.

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