In the Store or At the Store – Which Is Correct?

When you’re out shopping, do you say “In the Store” or “At the Store”? Which of the two is correct?

It’s common that forms with a slight difference, like these ones, generate a lot of questions. Then, let’s look for the answers.

In the Store or At the Store – Which Is Correct?

Actually, both “In the Store” and “At the Store” are correct. Which to use depends on what you wish to convey. To say “In the Store” means you are, in fact, inside the store. To say “At the Store” indicates a certain proximity, but not that you’re inside of it.

in the store or at the store

Let’s take a look at some examples:

  • Harry works in the local juice store.
  • Harry works at the famous juice store.
  • Tomorrow, you’ll find me in the store, at the cashier.
  • Tomorrow, you’ll find me at the store, in the back.

As the examples show, both forms can be grammatically correct. Which one you will choose depends on the exact location of the subject of the sentence and how specific you’re trying to be in your description.

In the Store

When someone says they’re “In the Store”, the idea is that they’re literally inside of it, within the walls of the building. They aren’t at the door, or in front of the store. To be “In the Store” means to be inside of the store walls.

Here are some examples of “In the Store” being correctly used:

  1. I’m in the store you told me about yesterday.
  2. Donald works in a clothing store.
  3. Excuse me, can you tell me where in the store I can find toothpaste?
  4. Kirin works in a cell phone store.
  5. Amelia said she’d be in the store.

In each sentence, it’s clear the subject is inside of the store, or will have to go physically in to do what they have to do.

In order to find toothpaste, for example, you have to be inside of the store. No one would want to get toothpaste found outside, right? In order to be able to say “In the Store” to be present inside of its walls is a requirement.

At the Store

“At the Store” is less strict than “In the Store”. The preposition “At” is used to indicate location, so it’s ok to be in its vicinity. If a person is “At the Store” it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re inside.

Someone could be behind, at the door, or in front of the store – and in all of those instances, “At the Store” would still be true and correct.

Here are some examples of “At the Store” being used in a sentence:

  1. I’m a sales representative at the big store down the road.
  2. Please, pick me up at the store. I’ll be waiting outside.
  3. Are you hiring at your store?
  4. I need to find work at a store, as soon as possible.
  5. Karen called, and said she’ll be waiting for you at the store.

If you compare the examples for “In the Store ” and those above, for “At the Store”’, it’s clear that “At the Store” has a broader scope and can be used more generally.

“At the Store” is a form that doesn’t demand that the person stays inside of the walls of the store.

Which Is Used the Most?

When sharing their location, do people usually say “In the Store” or “At the Store”? We can find out by looking at the graph from Google Ngram Viewer below.

in the store or at the store usage

It’s interesting to notice that, although “At the Store” seems to be an easier form to apply to daily conversations, “In the Store” appears to be used with much more frequency.

The use for both forms has increased in the early 2000s, but both “In the Store” and “At the Store” followed the same trend, growing in a very similar way – and keeping “In the Store” more common than “At the Store”.

Is It “Work In a Grocery Store” or “Work At a Grocery Store”?

You should use “Work in a Grocery Store”, because you’re mentioning a line of business, a type of company (in a general sense). To be able to use the preposition “At” you’d have to say exactly which company you work at.

Check out the examples below:

  • Johnson works in a grocery store.
  • Johnson works at a grocery store. (incorrect)
  • Johnson works at Costco.

You may also like:
Shop vs. Store – What’s the Difference? (UK vs. US)
In a Shop or At a Shop – Which Is Correct? (With Examples)