Aan, In, Bij and Op

[voorzetsels]
Do we buy our train tickets 'in' or 'op' the station? Do we ask 'voor' or 'om' informatie?
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Lynn
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Aan, In, Bij and Op

Post by Lynn » Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:50 pm

I was doing some Dutch exercises and getting myself muddled in the head. I am not sure when to use "aan", "op", "in" and "bij" when it comes to location.

1. Ik werk bij Canon op het internationale hoofdkantoor in Amsterdam.
2. Ik werk bij Canon bij het internationale hoofdkantoor in Amsterdam.
3. Ik werk bij Canon aan het internationale hoofdkantoor in Amsterdam.
4. Ik werk bij Canon in het internationale hoofdkantoor in Amsterdam.

4. Ik woon ann de Beethovenstraat in Amsterdam.
5. Ik woon in the Beethovenstraat in Amsterdam.
6. Ik woon op de Beenhovenstraat in Amsterdam.

Thank you very much!

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Quetzal
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Re: Aan, In, Bij and Op

Post by Quetzal » Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:19 pm

Lynn wrote:I was doing some Dutch exercises and getting myself muddled in the head. I am not sure when to use "aan", "op", "in" and "bij" when it comes to location.

1. Ik werk bij Canon op het internationale hoofdkantoor in Amsterdam.
2. Ik werk bij Canon bij het internationale hoofdkantoor in Amsterdam.
3. Ik werk bij Canon aan het internationale hoofdkantoor in Amsterdam.
4. Ik werk bij Canon in het internationale hoofdkantoor in Amsterdam.

4. Ik woon ann de Beethovenstraat in Amsterdam.
5. Ik woon in the Beethovenstraat in Amsterdam.
6. Ik woon op de Beenhovenstraat in Amsterdam.

Thank you very much!
In the first case, for "kantoor", it's most commonly "op", but "in" is okay here as well. In the second case, only "in" works for a street, although if it were a square ("plein"), you could use "aan" or "op", but not "in".

Lynn
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Re: Aan, In, Bij and Op

Post by Lynn » Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:39 pm

Appreciate the reply :) Thanks!

jaapweel
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Re: Aan, In, Bij and Op

Post by jaapweel » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:02 pm

Don't be too hard on yourself for feeling muddled about this, these things are subtle. I could think of reasonable meanings for each of the phrases except maybe the "wonen in" one.
  • While "op" generally means on top of, "werken op" is a stock phrase used with a site of employment, probably because all the other prepositions were already taken for slightly different meanings.
  • "Werken bij" usually refers to an employer, not a site, so to say you work "bij" the head office is a bit clumsy (not to mention working "bij <employer> bij <site>"). But just because I think it's clumsy doesn't mean native speakers would never use it. Just google "Ik werk bij het hoofdkantoor." Plenty of hits.
  • "Werken aan" usually refers to a project. The architect designing the head office may reasonably say he is working "aan" the new building. Teachers and professors are said to teach ("les geven") "aan" a school, though, and by analogy they are sometimes said to work ("werken") "aan" the school to. All this is probably because "op" a school is already reserved for the pupils, who "zitten op school," which does not mean they sit atop the schoolhouse!
  • "Werken in" a building means just what you think it does, but in a rather literal way. The plumber who fixes the bathrooms also works "in het hoofdkantoor," even though as a contractor who only comes in for a day s/he probably doesn't work "op het hoofdkantoor."
  • As for the street, I have heard both "wonen aan" and "wonen op." Personally, I would use "op" for an apartment on a built-up urban street like the Beethovenstraat and "aan" for a house off a country road. (See how a slipped in a different English preposition, too? To live "off" a road implies that there's a driveway, or at least a front yard. To live "on" a street suggests closer proximity.) But this distinction may be entirely in my head, and I don't really know if everybody distinguishes it that way.
  • "In" can definitely be used with streets, but not in combination with "wonen." You can go "winkelen" (shopping) "in de Kalverstraat," for instance.

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