Arrive IN vs arrive AT? Which one to use?

There is a lot of misunderstanding about the verb “arrive”. More often than not English students are not sure whether to say “arrive to”, “in” or “at”. The first thing you need to know is to never use “arrive to”. So, how do you know when to use which one of the two?

The explanation is really simple and here it is:

You arrive IN a city, country, big area.
  • After a long tiring journey, they finally arrived in Barcelona.
  • When are you arriving in Boston? I’d like to wait for you at the airport.
  • When did you arrive in Europe?
  • As soon as he arrived in Sydney, he gave a call to his mum.
  • Foreigners who have arrived in the country recently have to take a medical test.

Arrive in or Arrive at?

You arrive AT a place such as a house, building, airport…
  • John arrived at the airport early this morning.
  • They arrived at Paddington Station just in time to catch the train.
  • Jane usually arrives at school before 7.
  • When Tony arrived at the party, all the guests had already gone home.
  • They arrived at the museum just before closing.

But remember:

We arrived home late last night (not: we arrived at home late last night)

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