if there is '-side' after front, what is correct? In the front side OR At the front side

As we all know, we usually use 'in front of' BUT, if there is '-side' thereafter, what now then?


  • Welcome to EL&U. I would have thought that 'front' never needs the word 'side' added to it, myself.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 7, 2017 at 15:43
  • There is also a usage such as 'On the right hand side'. Now I wonder the answer as well !
    – Red fx
    Nov 7, 2017 at 16:23
  • In the phrase "front side", the base noun is "side", not "front", and that is what the preposition refers to. ([the] front is a volume, whereas a side is an area, and "in" implies penetration for 2D objects)
    – AmI
    Nov 7, 2017 at 19:10
  • Neither is correct, nor close to it. Whether you're looking at British or US American or some other variety of English, please take that question to English Language Learners. Nov 12, 2017 at 20:14
  • Examples are helpful for these kinds of questions...
    – Lambie
    Feb 5, 2018 at 20:44

1 Answer 1


The distinction between "in" and "at" is one that has been valid even in older forms of English, as you can see in here: https://www.etymonline.com/word/at https://www.etymonline.com/word/in

Normally, "at" is preferred for "nearby, not actually inside" (but can also mean that you are inside the place) while "in" almost always conveys the meaning of being actually inside. https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-in-and-at-How-would-you-explain-the-difference-between-these-two-prepositions-to-a-kid

Thus, you most likely are not "in the frontside", you are "at the frontside".

Edited to take into account an observation made in the comments.

  • 2
    I don't agree with saying that the (current) meaning of a word is established by its etymology. This is called the etymological fallacy. Nov 7, 2017 at 17:38
  • You are right. Edited accordingly. Nov 7, 2017 at 18:06
  • Ok got it. Thx very much
    – John Arvin
    Nov 7, 2017 at 19:26
  • You are welcome! @Johnnarvin, if you think that this is the best answer you can get, would you care to accept it? Nov 9, 2017 at 14:36
  • Also, just throwing up all the ins and ats will not include all the buts.
    – Lambie
    Dec 7, 2017 at 18:34

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