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Hi everyone,
I'd be very grateful if you could help me with some sentences in English. I would like to know whether the following sentences are correct.

My brother's 12th birthday party was the worst party I've been in --> Does this sentence sound correct to your ears? I'm trying to sound as formal as possible. Would the sentence be incorrect if we don't say that in at the end of it? I'm not sure if we have to put it necessarily.

In what/which party were you last night? what/which party were you last night in? --> Are these two sentence correct?

Thank you very much,

PS: Feel free to correct my mistakes Emotion: big smile
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Comments  (Page 2) 
DelmobileNot sure if this is helpful, or just adds to the confusion...
Hmm, I have to think about that... Emotion: wink Thanks, anyway.

I'd like to ask you a thing... You used "in" with "General Hospital" and "Hello Dolly". Was that because you were thinking of "series", "episode", "movie", which should go well with "in"?
In other words, if "General Hospital" and "Hello Dolly" were shows, would you have used "in" anyway? I hope not... I hope you choose "on". Emotion: wink

Thanks Emotion: smile

PS:
DelmobileWow, this is what I love about this board
I'm glad you like EF. Stay with us! We always need native speakers... there are so many learners who ask questions! Emotion: smile
Hoa ThaiHi,

Here is how I understand:

1. In a show = taking part as a member of the cast.
2. On a show = being seen on TV.
3. At a show = being present (could be anybody, including the audience).

If I watch Oprah on TV and see you, I see you on her show. If you and I are in the audience, I see you at her show. Audience cannot be in her show.

Best wishes,
Hoa Thai

That's perfect!Emotion: smile
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If this is not confusing enough, allow me to throw in a couple of words "forum" and "panel". I have seen people say "on the forum", "in the forum", "on the panel" and " in the panel". My learning tells me it is "on the forum" and "on the panel". However, I have seen people using all of the above. The bottom line is, I guess, it's depends on how the context connects with the usage.
Anonymous
Hoa ThaiHi,

Here is how I understand:

1. In a show = taking part as a member of the cast.
2. On a show = being seen on TV.
3. At a show = being present (could be anybody, including the audience).

If I watch Oprah on TV and see you, I see you on her show. If you and I are in the audience, I see you at her show. Audience cannot be in her show.

Best wishes,
Hoa Thai

That's perfect!Emotion: smile
Hi Anon,

Thank you for the agreement. However, perfect I am not! I only share my observation. I do not think the usage of prepositions can be generalized. If no textbook offers rules and many native English speakers have difficulties in explaining them all, who am I to do the impossible!?

That said, I don't believe English preposition usages are random. As Goodman said, context sensitivity dictates their usages. In that sense, specificity must be observed for each context. For native English speakers, maybe they don't even think about what preposition goes with what context, the naturalness is in their blood. For ESL learners / speakers, I think we have three choices to achieve or come closer to such a level: a) emerge ourselves fully in the environment like theirs; do and live like them, b) spend our lives learning every phrase by heart, OR c) methodically, create our own rules of thumb to tackle the 'commonly used' meanings and observe the exceptions with the same reasoning power that we used to group the others.

I would never have a chance to do a). I am left with b) and c); For me, option c) suits best. Well, when we make a mistake and cannot understand why, we know where to go for the answer, don't we? Let's hope that there is a good reason for everything. I think there is, but it could be way above everybody's head. Nevertheless, it is rather comforting, in a way, to hear native English speakers sometimes tell us 'Don't ask why - Just do it as I told you'. Emotion: smile
I was giving the show/episode/movie question a lot of thought, believe me. "Show" is a broad term encompassing just about anything on TV, even movies, which long ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth (and interfered with television reception) were actually often called "shows" on television (and elsewhere): there was the "Late, Late Show," for example, a time slot usually after midnight during which less popular movies were aired. There are the afternoon soap operas that some still follow religiously---"Can I call you back, Helen? My show is on." Talk shows, reality shows, whatever. And we talk about "seeing a show" on Broadway, or in any theater.

For "a talk show" or "a reality show," I would always use "on," I think.

Wasn't he the guy on Survivor?

She was a guest on Letterman.

And I could indeed have said, "He played Dr. Feelgood on General Hospital." Either in or on would work there.

But "Hello, Dolly"---no. You would never say, "She was on Hello, Dolly." And although you can say he was on Saturday Night Live, you can't say "on a skit"---it would have to be "in a skit on Saturday Night Live."

I cannot for the life of me discern a hard and fast rule here. "In" of course has a greater sense of depth than "on"---fish are in the water, boats are on it. But in that case, it should always be IN General Hospital, and darn it, I know it's not.

This is making me sad Emotion: sad
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Thanks Del, that was helpful.
It seems it's something really idiomatic, so the only way to get it right would be... asking every time! I would flood the forum, I'm afraid, LOL. Anyway, your post helped me understand this better. If I have any other trouble with prepositions, I'll post something specific. Thanks Emotion: smile