WITH or AT? Use these Prepositions Correctly Every Time

English quick shot

Stay WITH or Stay AT?

One of my students was telling me about a trip her daughter will take to America this summer. I asked her where she will stay and we practiced using some English prepositions.

My daughter is going to New York next week. She will stay with a friend at her family home so I’m not worried.
The basic pattern is:

We stay WITH people
She will stay with a friend…
We stay AT a place
at her family home.

WITH and AT preposition definitions

One way we use the preposition with is – in the company of someone
“She will stay with her classmate.” – She will stay in the company of her classmate
The preposition with LINK

One way we use the preposition at is – where something happens
“She will stay at a beachside hotel.” The hotel is the place where she will stay.
The preposition at LINK

English prepositions - WITH or AT

The verb STAY

Stay is an intransitive verb LINK

Infinitive – TO STAY
I just want to stay in bed today.

Present simple – STAY
I stay at the Prince Hotel whenever I go to Hawaii.

Present simple Third-person singular – STAYS
Thomas always stays with his brother when he comes to Toronto.

Past simple – STAYED
I stayed at a budget hotel near the airport, but it was very dirty.

Past participle – STAYED
Denise has never stayed at a budget hotel, only the best for her!
…has never stayed… is the perfect tense. HAVE/HAS + the past participle. Learn more about perfect tense grammar HERE]

Continuous tense – STAYING
Keith is staying with his parents during his visit. You can reach him there.

I like to stay with my parents. My mom always prepares the spare bed.

Stay with and Stay at – example sentences

Staying with friends and relatives is cheaper than staying at a hotel.

A: “When you visit Canada will you stay with your parents?”
B: “Their new house is quite small so I’ll stay at a hotel this time.”

I just want a place to sleep, I don’t need to stay at a fancy hotel with a pool, a spa, or a gym.

Denise only stays at 5 star hotels when she travels.

You can stay with me. I have an extra room. (Person)
You can stay at my place. I have an extra room. (Place)

I used Air BnB when I went to Seattle, I stayed at a retired couple’s house for 3 days. The room was very nice.

Air BnB is a place to find private homes that rent out spare rooms for a lower price than a hotel.

For this example, we used the preposition at because we are talking about the retired couple’s home. (place) 
It would still be okay to say “I stayed with a retired couple.” For me though, this is not as natural. The homeowners are not friends or family. This is still a business activity, it’s just at a private house. The preposition with doesn’t fit this situation for me.

Find more ways to use the preposition AT here:
Verbs with prepositions TO and AT – Easy Grammar (Video+PDF)

Check out these other great English Preposition posts!

1 thought on “WITH or AT? Use these Prepositions Correctly Every Time”

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