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Speaking of a bird that often visits my balcony, which of the following expressions would be more correct and idiomatic?

  1. One of the regulars at my balcony.
  2. One of the regulars of my balcony.
  3. One of the regulars on my balcony.

Or is it perhaps the case that none of these are idiomatic and another expression would be better?

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"On" or "at" both work. "Of" doesn't really work in this context.

"On" usually means on the surface of something, like a floor, a table etc. So you could say that the bird was standing on your balcony.

"At" usually means that you have reached the periphery of something. For example, you might arrive at your home, and then you go in. So if you are referring to the fact that the bird comes to your balcony, use 'at'.

"Of" could be used in some contexts. For example, you might say that a person is "a regular of this bar", but in such a context you would be referring to 'the bar' as an establishment rather than a location. In the same way, you could say "he's a regular customer of mine", even though you are not a location. This doesn't feel quite natural in the context of your balcony.

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  • 3
    Also, “One of my balcony’s regulars”. – ColleenV Jun 17 at 14:36
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    Well, a location doesn’t have to be “personified” to be able to use a possessive with it, The church’s pews were made of oak. One of the school’s students won an award. – ColleenV Jun 17 at 15:08
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    @ColleenV No, it doesn't have to be personified but your examples miss the point. A church and a school are both institutions, so you can speak of them as locations and buildings, but you can also speak of them as organisation and ascribe students or members to them. That isn't true of a balcony. – Astralbee Jun 17 at 15:18
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    Dropping the possessive and using “balcony” as an attributive also works: One of the balcony regulars… One of living room’s chairs was broken. One of the upstairs room’s tenants was moving out. One of my finger’s knuckles. I think you are putting more “rules” around it than there actually are… – ColleenV Jun 17 at 15:26
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    @Astralbee "That isn't true of a balcony." You could if there was some kind of (semi-)regular meeting held there. – nick012000 Jun 18 at 6:27
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Astralbee's answer is correct.
at: destination
on: surface

Additional nuance might be implied from common-use idioms.

at: as a social activity
"a regular at cards", "a regular at parties"
implies the balcony is an active social location

on: as status or importance
"a regular on television", "a regular on the dancefloor"
implies this bird is more memorable or more important than others.

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  • I don't think it means the bird is more important or memorable - it just means that bird is usually on the balcony every day (or some other predictable time period). For example, I have a hummingbird that comes to eat every evening at my feeder - she's a regular. She's not prettier or more important than the ones that don't come every day, she's just more predictable. – ColleenV Jun 17 at 20:56
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Juliet stood ON her balcony, but Romeo stood AT her balcony.

Whose behavior does the bird's more closely resemble?

I don't believe "of" can be used idiomatically here.

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