A friend of mine asked me to read through his keywords for a presentation. He wanted to express that he sometimes eats in front of the computer. His sentence was:

“I eat at the computer.“

Can we use at in this case? It sounds a bit strange to me, but we also eat at the table, right? Does it convey the same meaning? Is there a different way to express “I eat in front of the computer“?

  • 4
    Yes, we sometimes use this construction. Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 11:11
  • 1
    Not worth an answer, but an interesting slang phrase I've heard recently to refer to this (at work) is al desko Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 13:41
  • @ObsidianPhoenix: That's interesting. I like that phrase!
    – user40861
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 15:03

1 Answer 1


"at" can indeed be used to mean "in front of" but here it means something else:

sitting or standing close to something, especially in order to do something

  • Lambert was seated at the piano.
  • He was at his desk writing something.
  • Thanks for your answer. Does that mean you don't think 'at' is the best choice in this case? Can you think of other ways to express that he eats in front of the computer?
    – user40861
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 13:04
  • @HarmlessPsycho "at" is the perfect preposition. Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 13:08
  • @HarmlessPsycho We might consider "before" but it would see strange to me. Although it has a meaning in front of I wouldn't use it in this context. Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 13:10

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