We use the preposition at with specific places. For example,

I work at Intel.

In the following sentence I think that we should use in instead:

I work in a kindergarten.

Is it also correct to say

I work at a kindergarten.

Assuming that at is also correct, then is in better than at here,
or are they both equally acceptable, or is at better?

  • 4
    I don't have any references, but I think we use in with generic terms and at with named ones. I work in a hospital but I work at St. Thomas.
    – Helmar
    Oct 10, 2016 at 18:12

2 Answers 2


X at Y means X is a place, and Y is close enough to X that if we wanted to find Y, we'd first have to find X. A place is large amount of space where things can be built or where things can happen.

X in Y means X surrounds Y, either physically or logically.

Buildings surround you, so when you enter a building, you are said to be in it, and can say you work in a building.

Businesses sometimes aren't just a building or room in a building, they have a campus, etc. Or maybe they have multiple buildings. So then they can be elevated to "place status" and therefore you use at.

I work in a kindergarten.

You're saying there's a room or building labeled "kindergarten" and that's where you work. If it's part of a school or greater institution, this is proper to say.

I work at a kindergarten.

You're saying there's a place called a kindergarten and you work there. This gives the impression it's a separate building, with it's own parking lot, etc.


Both of those are poor examples for use of the chosen prepositions.

You would not say "I work in a kindergarten".

Nor would you say "I work at a kindergarten".

The best choice for the prepositions given would be:

"I work in a kindergarten classroom".

It would be odd to say "I work at a kindergarten classroom".

It would be normal to say "I work at a school." But not "...at a kindergarten".

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .