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He was waiting at a bus stop.

To me, it's the only one that makes sense, but what about "wait on a bus stop" or even "wait in a bus stop"? I've heard "wait on a bus stop" a few times, and I saw it on some websites, but it sounds wrong, and "wait in a bus stop" just sounds completely wrong.

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This is based on experience of British English, and British bus stops.

You can say waiting at a bus stop in pretty much any situation. It means the person is near enough to the structure or post of the bus stop that they can signal the bus and board it when it comes.

If a bus stop has an actual structure, rather than just being a post by the side of the road, you could say waiting in a bus stop, and it means they are under or within the structure. This is usually only used for stops whose structure is more than just a canopy, but has walls of some sort. Also, if someone is "in the bus stop" in this sense, people will usually still say "at the bus stop" unless they want to emphasise the inside-ness. They might also use waiting under the bus stop.

If a bus stop has an actual structure with a roof or canopy (as shown below), you could technically use waiting on a bus stop. It would just mean the person was standing (or sitting or whatever) on the roof of the bus stop, which is probably not what you want to say. At least, I don't imagine people want to say it very often.

A London bus stop with a roof.

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  • How can you stand on the roof of a bus stop? – tefisjb Mar 28 '19 at 14:54
  • @tefisjb: simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bus_stop#/media/…geograph.org.uk-_598333.jpg – SamBC Mar 28 '19 at 15:06
  • Shouldn't it be waiting under the roof? – tefisjb Mar 28 '19 at 15:09
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    @fred2: It's just about common enough that people know it's done, so that's what they'll think of if you say "on the bus stop", I would say. (And in some towns the schoolkids do it what feels like nearly every day) – SamBC Mar 28 '19 at 16:30
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    You can say, "wait on a bus," using the phrasal verb wait on to mean "to wait for a thing to happen" and a bit of ellipsis where "a bus" stands in for "the expected arrival of a bus." Maybe, just maybe, there are people who use the phrase "bus stop" to mean "the scheduled stopping time of a bus," which would make sense when used with the phrasal "wait on," but that's not idiomatic at all in my experience. – Canadian Yankee Mar 28 '19 at 18:16

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