The following is the statement Samsung has issued:

However, because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority at Samsung, we have stopped sales of the Galaxy Note7. (Source)

I am wondering why "at" is used in this case instead of "in" or "of". My basic idea about the preposition "at" is that it is more used when meaning physical places. For example, "I bought this at a store." So, if I wrote this, I would say "a priority of Samsung" or "a priority in Samsung." Are those prepositions interchangeable in this case? Or any differences between those?

  • 5
    Native English speakers commonly say, for instance, "I am employed at Amazon." Dictionary.com (in fact, any English dictionary on Earth) has (used to indicate presence or location). We assume that Samsung has a physical presence. It means "a priority at Samsung's offices and by inference as part of our corporate ethos." This is not a remarkable usage. – P. E. Dant Sep 4 '16 at 4:56
  • @P.E.Dant Thank you for the comment! Would you consider any differences between those three prepositions in this case? Can I interchange "at" with "in" or "of"? – Luxembourg Sep 4 '16 at 5:25
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    Neither of nor in is appropriate or correct in this usage. Of would require the Saxon genitive to be applied to Samsung, and "priority in Samsung" is meaningless. At is the preposition we use to express this kind of relationship in English. A writer could use a priority for Samsung, though, with the same meaning. – P. E. Dant Sep 4 '16 at 5:37

However, because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority at Samsung, we have stopped sales of the Galaxy Note7.

'at' here is a combination of two meanings:

  • 'at' used as a function word to indicate the goal of an indicated or implied action or motion. Used to indicate something that is being tried or attempted.

So "customers’ safety" is the goal the "Samsung company" is indicating to or attempting to reach.

  • 'at' used to indicate the place where someone or something is. Used to indicate a particular place or time.

So "Samsung" is the place where "customers’ safety" is an absolute priority.

Conclusion: Because "customers’ safety" is an absolute priority that was violated at the company "Samsung", they have stopped sales of the Galaxy Note7.

  • Please explain the down-votes! – SovereignSun Dec 6 '16 at 13:15
  • You haven't explained why 'in' or 'of' couldn't be used, and I think folks object to the "implied action or motion". "Here at Samsung, we make customers' safety a priority." would be a more likely interpretation. – ColleenV parted ways Dec 18 '16 at 13:39

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