Is It “On an Island”, “At an Island”, or “In an Island”?

There are three different prepositional variations that work when referring to “islands.” This article will help you understand how “on,” “at,” and “in” work when you are referring to different places or bodies of land. It’s much less confusing than you might think!

Is It “On an Island,” “At an Island,” or “In an Island”?

“On an island” refers to an island as an unnamed land mass or a feature upon that land mass. “In an island” refers to a specific island, territory, or entity within the island. “At an island” is rare but works if a boat might travel to the island.

on an island at an island in an island

“On” and “in” are by far the most popular choices when it comes to referring to an island. They are not interchangeable with each other, though, since “in” refers to things being inside a specific island, while “on” refers to things being on top of an unnamed island.

You’ll often find that “at” does not work unless “at” is the correct preposition to use alongside another part of the sentence. For example, the boat stops at the island is correct.

On an Island

“On an island” means that something is on top of the body of land known as an “island.” Often, “on” only works when you are referring to an unnamed location or when there is a specific geological feature that you might want to refer to on that island.

  1. The roads on the island aren’t at all what I thought they were going to be. They’re not good at all.
  2. There are many rocks on this island that aren’t supposed to be here. I think they’ve been swept in from other territories.
  3. The people on the island are a bit angry at us. I guess we weren’t supposed to visit them without reason.
  4. You will find that the things to do on that island are limited. I think you’ll have a more interesting time here.
  5. Lots of stuff on the island need to be cleared away before anyone can visit it again.

At an Island

“At an island” is uncommon. It only works in very specific circumstances that allow something to visit the island. Often, a boat or vehicle will be able to “stop at an island,” which is the only known case where “at” might be the appropriate preposition.

It’s possible to use “at” with named locations, but it still only works when referring to modes of transport (almost always boats).

  1. The ferry only stops at the island once a day. It’s not ideal, but it’s how we have to use it.
  2. I think there’s a bus station at the island port, but we’ll have to have a look into that later on.
  3. The ferry is at the island right now. Do you want to get on it?
  4. This boat will stop at Iceland as soon as we’re able to! Right now, we don’t have the ability to do so.
  5. I think you’ll find that this ferry stops at the Isle of Mann in about three hours.

In an Island

“In an island” works best when the island is named. It’s also a good choice to refer to something specific on the island. The specific thing is often an organization, territory, or political entity. You may also find that “in” works when referring to your holiday destination.

You’ll find that “in” works whenever the name of the island is present. It’s usually quite easy to tell when this is the case because island names are proper nouns. They will always contain capital letters whenever they are written with “in.”

  1. We’re currently in Iceland, and we’re having a really good time here! Do you fancy seeing some pictures?
  2. I thought they were in the Shetland Islands already? Have they not made it there yet?
  3. We’re holidaying in Easter Island, and we can’t wait to explore what is going on around here.
  4. The schools in Ireland aren’t up to par with what I’d like them to be. Maybe we shouldn’t move here.
  5. I think there are many issues in Skye Island that need to be addressed before I’m comfortable coming back here.

Is It “In Hawaii,” “On Hawaii,” or “At Hawaii”?

“In Hawaii” works here because it refers to a specific island. “In” works whether you’re referring to people, places, or entities within the island. “On Hawaii” doesn’t work because Hawaii is named. “At Hawaii” only works if you’re referring to travel toward the island.

  • Correct: I am in Hawaii right now! I’m having such a great time!
  • Incorrect: We are not on Hawaii, but we should be there in a few hours.
  • Correct: I would like this ferry to stop at Hawaii for a few hours.

Is It “On Long Island,” “In Long Island,” or “At Long Island”?

“In Long Island” and “on Long Island” are both correct. “On” works because it can refer to a person or thing that is on top of the island location. Since “Island” Is included in the name, “on” still works. “In” works because it’s a named location. “At” only refers to travel.

  • We are on Long Island having a blast! You should come along when you get a chance.
  • We are in Long Island to see our family, and we’re having a great time!
  • We will see you at Long Island pier in a few hours.

Is It “On Staten Island,” “In Staten Island,” or “At Staten Island”?

“On Staten Island” and “in Staten Island” are both correct. Since “Island” is included in the name, it’s possible to use the preposition “on” when referring to you being physically on the island. “In” works because it is a named location. “At” again only refers to stations or travel.

  • We are on Staten Island as we speak! Hopefully, you’ll be able to make it along soon enough!
  • I think they are in Staten Island right now. Would you like to go and visit them while you have the chance?
  • They are waiting at the Staten Island ferry port. We should hurry up to meet them.

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