arrive: ✓ arrive at/in ✗ arrive to

By | May 4, 2017
arrive at/in
arrive to
When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it.
Quando arrivi a un bivio, prendilo.
- Yogi Berra
✓ When we arrived at the theatre, all of the seats were already taken.
✗ When we arrived *to* the theatre, all of the seats were already taken.
Quando siamo arrivati a teatro, tutti i posti erano già occupati.
In English we arrive at a place or arrive in a place (depending on the kind of place). We don't *arrive to* a place.
Generally we arrive in villages, towns, cities, regions, countries, continents, etc. For example:
✓ We should arrive in Dublin at about five.
Dovremmo arrivare a Dublino intorno alle cinque.
✓ He arrived in the United States with nothing.
Arrivò negli Stati Uniti senza niente.
Note the following “exception”, in which the place (Oxford) is a station, not a city:
✓ Sorry we’re late. Our train was delayed at Reading and arrived at Oxford twenty minutes late.
Scusate il ritardo. Il nostro treno è stato ritardato a Reading ed è arrivato a Oxford con venti minuti di ritardo.
With other kinds of destination the preposition generally used after arrive is at. For example:
✓ I arrived at school just in time for registration.
Sono arrivato a scuola appena in tempo per l’appello.
✓ The bride and groom arrived at the wedding reception in a Rolls-Royce.
La sposa e lo sposo sono arrivati al ricevimento con una Rolls-Royce.
JUST A NOTE: at and in aren't the only prepositions that we can use after arrive, because we don’t always specify the place. Sometimes we say how we arrive instead. For example: arrive on time (arrivare in orario), arrive by bus (arrivare col pullman), arrive in an old Panda (arrivare con una vecchia Panda), etc. Notice that the prepositions, as so often, are completely different in English and Italian!


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