1

When we grow older, we'll buy ourselves a place to live in at the top of the hill.

When we grow older, we'll buy ourselves a place to live in on the top of the hill.

In this context, are ON/AT interchangeable?

6

You could use either one, but they could imply slightly different things. If you use on, it would mean:

  H
 /\
/  \

but at might also mean:

 /\H
/  \

It is unlikely that you will be misunderstood, but there is that slight ambiguity. I would take out the word in in both cases because it sounds awkward to have two prepositions right next to each other.

  • 4
    Bonus points for the ascii art. – Mark Ripley Apr 16 '16 at 9:02
4

In your sentance, the words 'at' and 'on' are almost, but not exactly the same in meaning.

'At the top' implies the place is located very near the top of the hill. It might be on the top of the hill, but it might also just be close to the top of the hill, or even slightly under the surface of the top of the hill.

'On the top' implies a more precise location; the location is on the peak or top of the highest point of the hill.

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