How to describe position of objects?
in the middle, in the centre
in + the middle, the centre
- There was a large table in the centre of the room.
- This is illustrated by the circle in the center of Figure 2.
- What is the circle in the middle of a soccer field?
at the top, at the bottom
at + the top, the bottom. This suggests the object is inside.
- The coins are at the bottom of the lake. (coins can’t float)
- Can you see what’s written at the bottom/top of the page?
- I like all of his books, but this one is at the top of the list. (= this one is better than all the others.)
- I live at the top of the building. (~ I live inside the building.)
on the top, on the bottom
on + the top, the bottom. This suggests the object is outside.
- I live on the top of the building. (~ I live outside the building, on the roof.)
- The books are on the top/highest shelf. (CANNOT SAY: at the top of the shelves.)
- The coins are on the bottom of the lake. (= coins are sitting on the bed of the lake.)
- There is some cream on top of the cake.
- The clown balanced the pineapple on top of his head.
on the left, on the right
on + the left, the right
- They drive on the left-hand side of the road.
- Some websites have video areas on the left side of the screen.
- The building on the left is the cathedral. (OR it is also correct to say: To the left of the pet store, you will see a cathedral.)
- That woman standing on Tom’s left is his secret lover. (OR it is also correct to say: That woman standing to the left of Tom is his secret lover.)
at the back
at + the back. This suggests the object is inside.
We are going to sit AT the back of the theater. (You are going to sit in a seat towards the back of the theater.)
on the back
on + the back. This suggests the object is outside.
We are going to sit on the back of the elephant. (You are going to ride an elephant. You sit on its back.)
at the side
at + the side. This means next to.
There is a big sign at the side of the house. (The sign is sitting on the ground beside the house.)
on the side
on + the side. This means be attached to the side.
There is a big sign on the side of the house. (The sign is attached to or painted on the side of the house.)
in the top right-hand corner
in + the top right-hand corner, bottom left-hand corner
at is also correct. They are the same.
- That icon is at the top left corner of the screen.
- Scale bars are showed at the top right corner of each picture.
- The plane farthest from the cameras is the plane in the bottom right corner of the image.
in the background, in the foreground
in + the background, the foreground. This is for describing a picture and photos.
- This photo has the mountains in the background.
- The photograph was of a barn with trees in the background.
- You can see three people in the foreground.
- In the near foreground is just the track and some loose steel track and cross timbers.