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lunes, 4 de mayo de 2015

English Tips for Spanish Lawyers (xi)

Por Nick Potter

In this series we look at real-life examples of the most common mistakes in English by native Spanish lawyers. These and lots more invaluable tips are available in a new e-book/paperback, here: 50 English Tips for Spanish Professionals.

at / in


Which is the most problematic English preposition for Spanish speakers?

The answer would appear to be: at.

You may remember your nice English teacher correcting you when you said you studied the language “in the school” because you should have said “at school”.

En in Spanish is often mistranslated as “in” when it should be “at”.

Question: Which ONE of A – E below is correct?


A The seminar will take place in our New York office next Tuesday
B She has been employed in the Company for two years
C The respondent failed to appear at the hearing
D Rights to a property located at Jerez de la Frontera
E This restriction applies until the date in which the Offer Period elapses

Before you read the answer, remember:

What’s the difference between “in” and “at”?


Most native speakers couldn’t tell you, they would just know (and may even “know” differently).

My advice is simply to try and learn the most common combinations.

At is used to indicate when and where, time and place (including points/levels on a scale):
  • The meeting is at 5pm
  • I’ll call him at some point
  • I left my wallet at the petrol station
  • I work at BT
  • She has a contact at the company
  • David was at the concert (David was present – he was in the audience)
In is used for: months, years and seasons, although not dates (e.g. the agreement was signed in September, but on 20 September), enclosed spaces (e.g. what’s in the envelope?) and parts of a whole (e.g. in section 25 of the Act).

Some more examples:


  • The meeting is in the auditorium
  • I’ll call him in a few minutes
  • I left my wallet in the car
  • I work in the Customer Service department
  • She has shares in the company
  • David was in the concert (David took part – he was on stage)
 

So:


The correct sentence was C:

A The seminar will take place in at our New York office next Tuesday
B She has been employed in at the Company for two years
C The respondent failed to appear at the hearing [CORRECT]
D Rights to a property located at in Jerez de la Frontera
E This restriction applies until the date in on which the Offer Period elapses

But… if “at” is used for location, why was D wrong?

“Located at” is used only for addresses e.g. located at calle Piña, 40 in Madrid.

To refer to villages, towns, cities, countries or continents, we say in.

En can also be translated as by e.g. it increased by 50% (aumentó en un 50%)… okay, okay, that’s enough prepositions!

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