Prepositions of Place: “In” “On” & “At”

Last week we discussed how the small connecting words of the English language are just as important as mastering a larger vocabulary… but the correct usage of these tiny words can sometimes fall through the cracks for non-native English speakers. You may start to use words like “in,” “on,” and “at” interchangeably, when they actually each have a specific purpose. Incorrect usage of these prepositions can cause native English speakers to question your fluency, or become confused by your meaning.


when do you say (place)


Last week, we looked at how to use “in,” “on,” and “at” when describing time… This week, we’ll follow the same principle when using them to describe locations.


If you can remember this order, “IN, ON, AT”… then you can remember this general rule for how to describe places:


gen rule place


See again how “IN, ON, AT” progress from general to specific locations as you read their descriptions:


Prepositions of Place


I have some more sample sentences for you again this week. Take a look and choose the correct prepositions for each location.


Fill In Place


This video I created a few years ago further explains the usage of “IN, ON, AT” with regard to location beyond what I’ve detailed here. Check it out and then look below to see if you got the sample sentences correct!



Answers Place

If this video and information helped you, or if you’d like more information on accent reduction, take my free accent screening and receive a free pronunciation guide at

Why YouTube Isn’t Enough

If you’ve been following my blog or Facebook page for any length of time, you know that I enjoy posting videos of American pronunciation and culture on YouTube, and I hope you find them helpful! And there are, of course, many more language pronunciation videos out there as well. But is viewing free online videos enough to help you be understood by your co-workers, clients, patients, and American friends?

Why youtube isn't enough (3)

If you are still actively learning English vocabulary, sounds, and grammar, YouTube videos may be great for you right now. But if you’re reading this article with ease, you are probably already beyond that. Take a look at the following question and try to answer honestly:

What kind of English Speaker are you- (1)

If you answered anything other than “I’m always understood”, you are probably ready to take the next step in your English pronunciation: personalized accent reduction!

Depending on which dialect you speak, the English language has anywhere from 44 to 52 different sounds… and non-native speakers usually only have 10 to 15 of those sounds that are affecting the way they speak and are understood. How do you know which are affecting you, and which to actively work on? That is an answer YouTube videos just cannot provide.

The English Language Sounds

So what are your options for reducing your accent?

You may have looked into home-study software kits, a local small group for speech training, or a number of online speech training programs… and you’re probably wondering which is right for you. I like to go back to the familiar saying, “you get what you pay for” when it comes to accent reduction, and what you pay for should definitely include heavy one-on-one attention from a speech coach. You need the feedback of a trained American listener to help you concentrate on the right sounds for you.

No matter which program you go with, do your homework before purchasing to make sure you will receive individual attention to your accent. And as always, I’d love to be your coach! You can receive a free accent screening and pronunciation guide at With personalized attention and practice, you’ll be able to say, “I’m always understood!”

Can I Learn an English American Accent Using Skype?

Have you worried because you know you have to repeat yourself to be understood, you’re not sure if people understand you, and you wish there were an easy way to improve your English American accent?

The great news is that now there is a simple solution to these worries! If you do not live near someone who can teach you to speak with an American accent, you can now learn from the comfort of your home with just your computer and a webcam.

What would it be worth to you to:

  • be understood every time you speak?
  • never have to repeat yourself again?
  • sleep better at night knowing that your speech no longer negatively impacted your job performance?

Isn’t it great to know that there are very affordable options to help you with your English American accent?

In the past, the only way to benefit from personalized instruction was through a private or small group class. This is a great option for many people, but can be a problem if you have a crazy work schedule, a long commute, or live in a rural area. Now, with advances in internet technology, you can have the same, high quality private instruction that you would get face to face without ever leaving your home or office.

Now, you can learn to speak English like an American through your computer webcam. Using free software from Skype, you can have all the benefits of working with a personal accent reduction specialist right through your computer. Think of the time and money you will save by not having to travel to a class. You can schedule a class at your convenience in the privacy of your own home or office. You need very little equipment (just your computer and a microphone!), and you will be impressed with the quality of the audio and video that are available.

This is a fabulous opportunity for those who live in an area where accent reduction classes are not available in person. In the past, your only options were a terribly long commute to a class or trying to figure it out from a self-study manual. Now you will be able to have the same advantages that those who live in a larger city have had.

Those of you who live in a big city but hate fighting traffic will also be pleased with the convenience of webcam classes. You can schedule them at home or at the office, but without having to build in extra time for the commute to class. You’ll save money on gas, and know that you’re doing your part for the environment by cutting down on driving.

No matter where you live, if you have a good internet connection, a webcam, and a microphone, you will be able to experience a high quality class with less hassle than ever before.

Just imagine being able to communicate more easily and confidently with those around you. And even better, your employer may pay for this training! If you are self-employed, you can deduct it as a training expense.

You might think that in our current economy, you would not want to add the expense of taking these high quality classes. However, consider the cost of not making this change.

What would it cost you to lose your job? To miss out on a great promotion, or lose a key contract because you were misunderstood? Now that you have an easy, no-hassle option, can you really afford not to do this?

Why don’t you take the free online speech and accent screening at It only takes a few minutes, and I will get back in touch with you for a free 20 minute consult via Skype so you can try out this great way that we can work together to improve your English American accent.

Download my FREE report How to Speak English Like an American: 6 Steps You Can Take Starting Today by visiting

Secrets of an English American accent for Koreans

You want to speak with an English American accent, but you’re having a hard time figuring it out. You’re not alone! In 2003, 74.2% of people polled in a government survey in Korea admitted that they had difficulty communicating in English.

And it’s not all in your head. The Korean accent is particularly difficult for listeners to understand. A survey taken by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy in Hong Kong asked foreigners to rate how easily they could understand speakers of English from 12 different Asian countries. Koreans ranked at the bottom of the list.

So, now what? You know you have a hard time speaking English clearly and that others have a hard time understanding you. But what can you do about it? I’m going to share with you some secrets to an English American accent that you would normally only get when you work with me one on one to improve your spoken English. So, practice these techniques on your own, but be sure to get in touch with me if you get stuck. I’m available for further help over Skype no matter where you live.

And now for the secrets to being able to speak like an American:

Secret #1: You must understand the difference between voiced and unvoiced sounds.

K and G are almost the same sound, but G uses voice and K does not. What do I mean? Put your hand on your throat and say “ahh” Feel the vibration? Your voice is on. Now say k-k-k-k. You should not feel vibration. Now try saying g-g-g-g-g. You should feel the vibration again. This voicing is the only difference between the word coat (a piece of clothing) and the word goat (an animal).

Secret #2: You must learn to hear the difference between the f, v, b, and p sound.

This is a difficult concept for many Koreans because the f and v don’t really exist in your native language, and the b and p are often interchangeable. However, in English each of these sounds is distinct, and using the wrong sound can easily change the whole meaning of a word. Here is a very simple example:

fan — something that blows air to cool you off

van — a vehicle you can drive

ban — to prohibit or not allow something

pan — a cooking utensil

The only difference in each of these words is the first letter, but it completely changes the meaning of the word. So, you can see how easily an English speaker would be confused if you substituted one of these sounds for another.

The difference in these sounds is in the lip and teeth placement, and also in the voicing, like we talked about earlier.

F and V are both produced by putting the top teeth on the lower lip and blowing. The V uses voicing and the F does not.

B and P are both produced by pushing the lips together and releasing. The B uses voicing and the P does not.

Try saying the words fan, van, ban, and pan. When you master the four sounds, each of those words will sound different.

Secret #3: You must understand the difference between short and long vowels.

A common confusion is between the long e as in sheep and the short i as in ship. To make a long ee sound, pull your lips back into a smile. Practice saying words like sheep, sleep, team, green, and street.

The lips are not pulled back as far when saying the short i sound. This is the sound in words like ship, slip, Tim, grin, and swim.

Secret #4: You must learn to hear the difference between the w, r, and l sounds.

You are probably aware that this is a challenge, as once again, your native language does not really distinguish between these sounds and English does. The w is produced by rounding your lips, turning on your voice, and releasing the sound. It comes out as “oooh -uh” at first. The l sound is made by placing the tongue behind the front teeth and turning on the voice. The r is made by producing the l sound, then pulling the tongue a little farther back in the mouth, keeping the tip up but no longer touching.

These four secrets are some of the biggest reasons that Korean speakers struggle with their English American accent. Now that you know the secrets, I want you to practice the sounds until you can hear and say the different English pronunciations.

If you cannot hear the differences on your own, or you want individual help to practice, please feel free to contact me at I offer a free 20-minute consult over Skype so you can decide if you are comfortable working with me. I want you to have all the support you need to feel confident speaking English!