Do we say 'in', 'on' or 'at' the street?

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I've heard that are differences between American English and British English when talking about streets.

asked May 22 '11 at 00:13 coraliecinq New member

3 answers


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I as a BrE native find all the above sentences natural and things I may say including the examples of on (I don't find them Americanisms).  Intersection is more American although is understood and used in Britian but tends to be more formal, we are more likely to say junction.

 

I live at 10 Queens Road.

I live in Queens Road.

My house is on Queens Road.

link answered May 23 '11 at 20:56 Dave Phillips New member

Thank you very much! Both your answers are very, very good! coraliecinqMay 25 '11 at 11:45

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Preface, I am a native speaker of AmE.  I will get a native BrE speaker to check my answer and add clarification.

 

When talking about addresses:

 -- AmE uses 'on'.

 -- BrE uses both, but in different situations,

  1. 'in' is used to suggest an address ('I live in Kennington Road.')
  2. 'on' is used to suggest the general location of a larger or very well known place, like a attraction or even a city. ('Greenville is on Highway 57.')

If you are talking about something that is placed on the road, normally both AmE and BrE would use 'in'.

 

'She's walking in the street!'

'Watch out! There is a tire in the road.'

 

In some cases, we use 'on', but these might be Americanisms:

 

'There are a lot of cars on the road today.'

'Be careful of ice on the streets!'

 

For both, if you are talking about specific locations along the street, the prepostion may change according to the description of the location.

 

'At the intersection of Kensington and Oxford, turn left.'

 

 

link comment edited May 23 '11 at 13:43 Kimberly Expert
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(I am a native speaker of AmE)

--

"There are a lot of cars on the road today" -- in this context, wouldn't that be just another way of saying "there is a lot of traffic" as opposed to making a comment remarking on the number of cars present on the road?

 

There are a lot of cars on the road today = There is a lot of traffic today

I find that people usually mean traffic when they say "there are a lot of cars on the road today" and so the "on" would lose its literal sense of being physically present on the road.

 

There are a lot of cars on the road today vs. There are only a few cars on the road today.

"on the road" in this context would be really remarking on the number of cars physically present and "on" the road.

--

Likewise for "be careful of ice on the streets!"

This is to say that ice has actually formed on the streets as opposed to just being there like the woman walking in/on the street or the tire in/on the road (both of which could be removed from the street).  Here, the road itself is covered in ice so ice is truly on the road.

 

"Be careful of hoodlums in/on the streets" vs. "Be careful of ice in/on the streets." -- ice in the streets doesn't ring as naturally.

link comment answered Oct 23 at 11:48 Wendy New member

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