March 18, 2011

At, in and on: weird language

A story at physorg.com today begins like this:
"As Spring continues to unfold at Saturn . . ."
At Saturn? Not on Saturn? This sounds so strange and wrong to me. What's with the "at", guys? I even see this in reference to places on Earth (note I didn't say "at Earth"). People will say, "He was at England when he . . ." At? 

I don't get it. Storms occur on Saturn, not at Saturn. And one is in England, not at England. Language has gotten very odd in this area and I'm not sure why. Any suggestions?

2 comments:

Artichoke Annie said...

Here is what I have a problem with, because when I was a child, we would say The Congo, now it is Congo, Sudan, etc. but it still sounds odd to my ear if I don't but The in front of it

P.S. Two weeks to opening day!

writenow said...

It's funny you should mention that. I almost included it in the post. I too think about the "the" problem. People even refer to United States now. It's quite strange but also understandable. In essence, there is no need for the "the". We just use it out of habit. But in a way, it still makes sense to say "the" United States and "the" Faulklands, just because they're plural. It's all going to come down on the side of "no the", in the end. And then we'll have to get used to living in United States. People in other countries already refer to us without the "the". It seems we're late to the party. Language changes; it's never static.

And woot! for opening day. I'm already watching two games a day and loving it. It'll be even better when they count.