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Which is the correct preposition here ?

The shop is (at/on/in) the road.

I would think at/on are possible, but do they give the same meaning for the sentence ?

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3 Answers 3

It depends on exactly which relationship you intend.

The shop is at the road.

This formulation would be uncommon, but could apply if the road indicated a landmark or intersection on the path you were actually taking.

You can walk south from the campsite to the bait shop along the stream. The shop is on the far side of the lot, at the road.

As for

The shop is in the road.
The shop is on the road.

In British English, a shop is found in a road, and in American English, on the road, when it is situated along the road.

The shop is in Penny Lane.
The store is on Lakeshore Drive.

In AmE, to say something is in the road is equivalent to saying it is literally in the middle of the path, or perhaps embedded in the paving materials. Watch out! There are a lot of potholes in the road.

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"The shop is in Penny Lane" sounds very unidiomatic to my ears. Google has about 52000 UK results for the shop is on the high street, but only one for the shop is in the high street. –  tobyink Apr 26 '14 at 17:23
@tobyink I agree: "in" is rarely used in this context in UK English. We're much more likely to use "on". "In" would normally be used to refer to a larger area ("the shop is in the city centre"). –  Jules Apr 26 '14 at 18:06
@tobyink It is very possible that I have missed a nuance, as I am an AmE speaker. But see e.g. ON an American street, but IN a British one. Do the twain ever meet?. –  choster Apr 26 '14 at 19:01

The shop on the road or along the road. At and in would be unusual.

You could say: in the middle of the road or I stopped at n. 15 of Boston Road in New York.

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As an American kid, I'd hear the song Our House (by the UK group Madness) with the line, Our House, in the middle of the street, and I'd imagine an enormous house situated directly on the yellow line in the asphalt of the street.

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Can you elaborate a little? I don't understand what your answer to "which is the correct preposition?" is exactly. –  ColleenV Jan 14 at 18:37

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