English as a Second Language/questions

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Question
1-What is the difference between at the institute and in the institute?

2-how about at the hospital and in the hospital,in the office and at the office, in the shop and at the shop?

3-should I say I work in the institute or at the institute?
I study English in the at the institute or in the institute?

4-Are these sentences correct?
My brother inspects soft wares and CDs to give them permission for publishing.
My brother inspects soft wares and Cds to give them permission to be published
My brother inspects soft wares and Cds to give their owner permission to publish them.

Answer
Hi Nina!

Thanks for your patience.

Your first three questions are essentially the same, so I'll answer them all together:

There is very little difference between "in" and "at" when talking about places.  They are not, however, exactly the same.

These rules are generalized and don't apply specifically in every situation, but basically there are two differences:

1. "In" specifically means "inside the boundaries of".  "At" means "in OR near".  A simple example would be saying "Let's meet IN the store" only means within the boundaries of the store, but "Let's meet AT the store" could mean the inside OR the front of the store, or the parking lot near the store.

2. "At" tends to be used with action verbs more often, but "in" tends to be used with stative verbs.  So for example, if you used the verb "study", then generally you should use the preposition "at" with it.  However, if you use a verb like "live", then "in" is more common.  For example, we would say "I work at an office" but "I am in the hotel".

There is one clear exception: for any place or location that is either a city or bigger, always use "in".  For example, I would never say "at Paris".  I would say "in Paris" instead.  So:

1. I work at Paris. (this is wrong)
2. I work in Paris. (this is right)

As for your fourth question, they are all slightly wrong:  "soft wares" is wrong; it should be "software".  But after you fix that mistake, the last sentence is correct.

Hope that helps!

English as a Second Language

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Brian Connelly

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I can answer pretty much any question a student might have about English; about grammar, vocabulary, meanings of words, phrases, expressions or idioms, pronunciation, etc. I can answer questions about how to learn or study English better, how to improve certain aspects of communication (listening, writing, speaking, etc), about why we have certain rules.

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I've been teaching English in Japan, mainly as a private (one-to-one) teacher, but also at companies such as Universal Studios or international airports. I have taught professional interpreters and translators and I have also taught students who dropped out of high school and never learned any English. Several years ago I acquired the CELTA and I have been running my own classroom for the past year.

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I currently have approximately 40 individual students with whom I work one on one. I have also worked with local manufacturing companies, colleges, local retailers, as well as Sharp, Universal Studios, Itami International Airport, Kobe International Airport

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