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Autor:  Dale-CR
E-mail:  dale_thomas2004@yahoo.com.br
Data:  25/MAR/2010 1:58 AM
Assunto:  Quando usar the
Mensagem:  Tiago, I agree with almost everything you have written.  Take a look at these:

He is at home.  He is in his home.  He is at his home.  He is in home.

He is at work.  He is in work.

He is at the school.  He is in school.  He is in the school (possible in some contexts such as "He is not outside the building; he is inside the building that we use as a school.)
(He is in school. = He is taking classes, he is a student, etc.)

I believe the British usually omit "the" when speaking of a university.  "He is at university¨"  Americans say "He is at the university."  However, Americans say ¨He is in college" or "He is at college", depending on the context. 

He is in reception.  He is at reception.

He is at the library.  He is in the library.

The room is at the top of the stairs.  The cat is on top of the house.

The village is at the bottom of the hill, but the label is on the bottom of the chair.

She is at the side of the car but the sign is on the side of the car.

He is in jail.  (He is being punished for a crime.) 
He is at the jail.  (His current location is the jail.  Perhaps he is a prisoner, perhaps he works at the jail, maybe he is an attorney visiting a client, etc.)

She is at church.  She is in church.  (She is attending religious services.)
She is at the church.  (She has gone to the church and can be found there.)

They are on the boat.  (Said of large boats and ships.)
They are in the boat.  (Said of small boats such as rowboats, canoes, etc.)
They are at the boat.  (The implication is that they are on the dock or wharf, not on board the boat.)

- I work in the house. / I work at the house.
Talvez eu esteja errado, mas as duas opções soam um pouco estranhas. Se você estiver se referindo a uma casa específica, poderia dizer algo como "I work at the house that parents built". Se você estiver se referindo a um trabalho qualquer dentro de casa, seria melhor usar "home", como em "I work at home".

Tiago, I agree that they sound odd, but almost anything can make sense given the appropriate circumstances and context.  We meet on a farm.  I ask if you work in the fields.  You say, "Ï work in/at the house."  Now both sentences make sense. 

As you say, there are exceptions to exceptions to exceptions to exceptions.  

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Índice de mensagens

 English Made in Brazil -- English, Portuguese, & contrastive linguistics
Quando usar the  –  Rafael English New X  24/MAR/2010, 10:34 PM
Quando usar the  –  Tiago T.  25/MAR/2010, 12:13 AM
 Quando usar the  –  Dale-CR  25/MAR/2010, 1:58 AM
Quando usar the  –  Tiago T.  25/MAR/2010, 11:50 PM
Quando usar "boas maneiras" ?  –  Teacher  25/MAR/2010, 1:15 AM
Quando usar "boas maneiras" ?  –  Sidney  25/MAR/2010, 10:14 AM
Quando usar "boas maneiras" ?  –  Dale-CR  25/MAR/2010, 3:25 PM
Quando usar "boas maneiras" ?  –  Sidney  26/MAR/2010, 11:38 AM
on the phone  –  Dale-CR  26/MAR/2010, 12:51 PM

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