A Word on Grammar: Arrive At or Arrive In

You’ll never believe the number of times I have corrected this mistake! I sometimes ask myself: “If I explained this mistake in Mandarin Chinese, Would they pay more attention? Let’s try this way:

THE VERB “TO ARRIVE” IS NEVER FOLLOWED BY THE PREPOSITION “TO”

See? I have used red, put it in bold, inside quotation marks…. will it work now?

The verb ARRIVE is followed by two prepositions AT or IN. See? NEVER “TO”

Arrive at a building , station, airport

Arrive in a country, city. etc

Be Careful: You arrive at someone’s house BUT you arrive home

Surely, it isn’t that difficult to remember. Why don’t you try reading this post like two or three times and then doing the exercises below?  I bet you will never ever make this mistake again. Naive? 🙂 Maybe! Fed up with correcting this mistake? Absolutely!!!

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8 thoughts on “A Word on Grammar: Arrive At or Arrive In

  1. Hi Nora
    I guess one cannot argue with the mighty Milton. Nevertheless, and so as not to confuse readers, in modern English and based on the corpora there are very few people who still say “arrive to the age”; most of them prefer “arrive at the age”. Anyway, I should probably have made it clearer in the post that I was referring to the action of “arriving at/in a place”.
    The corpora are an essential resource when showing student what is actually used, in practice, by native speakers and which of the options is more common in which form of English (spoken, written etc).
    As an aside, after a lot of digging I’ve found some very few examples where “arrive” could be followed by “to” as a preposition and always as an option to using “at” or “in” , but they are really so specific that honestly I don’t think it’s worth confusing learners.

    Thanks for your comment.
    http://www.ozdic.com/collocation-dictionary/arrive
    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/es/gramatica/gramatica-britanica/arrive
    http://www.dailywritingtips.com/arrive-to-vs-arrive-at/

  2. John Milton. (1608–1674). Complete Poems.
    The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

    On His Being Arrived to the Age of Twenty-Three

  3. Yes , I agree with you but I am a teacher , so though you would be understood , are you seriously asking a teacher if grammar matters? 😉

  4. I wonder whether it really is such a big mistake, since it does not affect getting your meaning across at all. If the purpose of learning a language is being able to interact with other people who speak that language, then using “arrive to” instead of “arrive at, in or on” will certainly not be a big issue.

  5. Yes, true!
    But Much as I would like to teach them all the possibilities , I would be just happy if they used arrive at or arrive in . Thinking about teaching them “on’ gives me a headache 😉
    Thank you for visiting! And I am curious , where did you learn about my blog?

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