General Writing and Grammar Help/Prep.

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Question
Dear Ted,
1. What's the difference between 'Working AT my computer' and 'working ON my computer'?
2. Search it ON / At google for more information. ON or AT?
3. Go TO / ON facebook. TO or ON?
4. AT / IN one's house/home. AT or IN?

5. Home or House?
e.g. I went to my friend's HOUSE / HOME?
     Come to my HOME / HOUSE?

I do apologize you for asking several questions at the same time.
I'd be grateful if you can help me!

Answer
Dear Bob:

1. What's the difference between 'Working AT my computer' and 'working ON my computer'?
2. Search it ON / At google for more information. ON or AT?
3. Go TO / ON facebook. TO or ON?
4. AT / IN one's house/home. AT or IN?

*** Bob, these are excellent questions, but they are difficult to answer.  In most cases the prepositions AT and ON can be interchanged, because they mean the same thing.  Most people will choose one or the other and be consistent in using the choice they made.  There are, however, some very slight differences, which I will point out to you.

In your first sentence, I could be working AT my computer, without actually using the computer itself.  In other words, I could be doing some work at the desk or table where my computer is located, so I would be AT that table or desk.  If I choose the preposition "ON," then I am saying that I am in the process of USING the computer.  Whether it is AT my desk or IN my lap, as long as I am using the computer in my work, I am ON the computer.

In the second sentence, either preposition can be used.  There is NO difference.  However, there is a better way to write the sentence, and that is WITHOUT USING a preposition.  I SEARCHED Google to find how many times my name is mentioned.  Another example:  I found my answer by searching Google.

In the third sentence, what you do when you visit Facebook is important.  Generally speaking, TO and ON can be interchanged.  There is a specific connotation for each word, which most people don't even consider.  If you go TO Facebook, you are just looking at the postings of other people, many of whom you don't even know.  However, if you go ON Facebook, the connotation is that you have entered your user name and your password with the intention of reading messages and, perhaps, responding to messages or posting a new message of your own.

In the fourth sentence, AT suggests you have arrived at your friend's house.  IN suggests that you have not only arrived BUT you have entered into the house itself.  Again, most people would not see a difference between the two, and they would use them interchangeably.
EXAMPLE:  I am talking with you on my cell phone.  You ask me where I am.  I tell you that I am waiting for you AT the museum.  I am suggesting that I am at the entrance to the building, but I have yet to go inside.  If, however, I tell you that I am waiting for you IN the museum, then I am clearly saying that I am inside the building.



5. Home or House?
e.g. I went to my friend's HOUSE / HOME?
    Come to my HOME / HOUSE?

**** I have heard or read many arguments about the use of these two words.  Some people say that they mean the same thing. I do not agree with them.  Many years ago, there was a popular song with the lyric "A house is not a home."  That is my belief.  I consider a "house" to be a structure, one in which people live.  However, a "home" has many more connotations:  the family that lives in the HOUSE makes up the HOME; their precious possessions are part of the HOME; all the times they have spent together are part of the history of the HOME.

In short, a house is a building.  A home is the building PLUS all the people who reside therein.

I do apologize you for asking several questions at the same time.
I'd be grateful if you can help me!

*** Bob, I have written a great deal, and I hope that I have been clear.  You can show your gratitude by giving me high evaluations and nominating me as the "volunteer of the month," which you have not done in the past.  The evaluations -- especially the "volunteer" one -- are very important to Allexperts.

Thank you . . . . Mamnoon.

Ted

General Writing and Grammar Help

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

Education/Credentials
B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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