In, At or On Lake Como: Bothered by Grammar

Ssense WW

You know me (or maybe not), I’m really not one to complain. My Mom taught me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” but (yes, you knew a ‘but’ was coming, didn’t you?) I sometimes see English grammar mistakes that make my blood boil!

As a mother tongue speaker, consultant, pro-blogger, and writer, I cringe every time I see English grammar mistakes. I spend hours on the internet researching facts and material for my blogs and travel guides. I often come across poorly translated blogs, articles written by AI that are literally just made up, and when there is an error in a title, I don’t even open it!

I am not saying my work is perfect, far from it! When I get an idea for a blog post, I find the time to write it between appointments, washing the dishes and other tasks and then I hit the publish button. I admit, I sometimes go back to my work the day after and only then do I see all the mistakes. The beauty of web publishing is that you can edit on the fly!



Ok, back to my original train of thought – I get peeved when I see grammar mistakes, especially when it comes to my beloved Lake Como, it almost feels like an insult.

When I’m not thinking about prepositions I’m out and about. 🙂 This photo was taken from the top of the Lecco Bell Tower/ C. Abernethy.

It bugs me when I see blog titles like:  

“10 things to do in Lake Como”

“Going shopping in Lake Como”

“The Greatest Restaurants in Lake Como”

So, what’s the problem you say?
STOP! Stop using “in” as a preposition unless you mean “in the water of the lake”!

When I asked my colleagues, there were mixed opinions:

Some were bothered by it too and suggested that “at” or “on” are more appropriate, but others pointed out that saying “in Lake Como” is implicit that it refers to the Lake Como area.

We also agreed that it may be a difference between British English and American English.

Yes, I can see that now. It could be implicit meaning “in the Lake Como area”, but when I see it, it still drives me nuts!

As a writer, I would be more inclined to use “in” for titles such as: (All made up of course)

“Golden treasure found in Lake Como”

“Giant lizard fish live in Lake Como”

“Aquatic plant life in Lake Como can prevent climate change”

Premier TEFL

Prepositions of Place

The proposition IN is used to mean inside, with the name of a city or a general area.*

  1. I will meet you in the lobby. (This means I will go in and wait for you.)
  2. We had a romantic table in the corner. (“..in the corner”, the location of the table)
  3. I love living in Lecco. (“In” is always used with the name of a city.) *
  4. I love living in a small city.  (“In” is always used with a general area.)

*When speaking about movement use “to”:

  1.  I am going to Italy.
  2.  I am going to the mountains.
  3. The ship is sailing to Portugal.
  4. Forest Gump ran to California.

The preposition AT is used for proper names and locations.

  1. Let’s meet at The Grand Victoria Hotel.
  2. I ate at the best restaurants in the area.
  3. We sat at the most romantic table in the restaurant.
Varenna, Lake Como / photo by C. Abernethy

According to englishpage.net prepositions used with LAKE are:

  1. I am going to the lake. (This means you are traveling to a lake).
  2. I am going on the lake. (This means you are going out on the lake in a boat).
  3. I am on the lake. (This means you are now on a boat on the lake).
  4. I am at a lake / at the lakes. (You are near, on the shore. At the lakes means that there are two or more lakes in close proximity and you are in the vicinity of those lakes).
  5. I am by the lake. (Beside the lake).
  6. As soon as I arrive, I am going to jump in the lake! (This means you will go in the water.)
  7. We love driving around the lake in the summer. (This means driving/exploring the lake area.)

In addition to sharing my photos, travels and experiences in Italy, the great thing about having a blog is that I can share my opinions.

So, what do you think? Does the preposition “in + Lake Como” bug you too? Comment below.

Ciao! I’m Celia. Originally from NY, I’m now living la dolce vita Lake Como Style and on a mission to live it to the fullest! I hope to inspire you to explore Milan & Lake Como, the culture, cuisine and creativity. Would you like to book a video call with me? I'd be happy to share my insider tips about Milan & Lake Como with you.

About Author /

Celia is the founder and managing editor at MilanoStyle.com. Originally from New York, she now spends her time between Milan and Lake Como sharing her discoveries and experiences living in Italy. Follow @CeliaAbernethy on Twitter

Start typing and press Enter to search

%d bloggers like this: