German question: auf einer Schule lernen/auf einer Schule arbeiten seem wrong to me.

Hi

Both ‘auf einer Schule lernen’/‘auf einer Schule arbeiten’ seem wrong to me. I haven’t been able to find any rule stating that the use of the preposition ‘auf’ is wrong in the above contexts. I look forward to your feedback.

If you want to say that someone is attending a school, then I think the idiomatic expression would be “auf eine Schule gehen” or “zu einer Schule gehen”. My personal preference would be the former (as in “ich gehe auf das xyz-Gymnasium”), but people also say the latter; might be a regional thing.

“Auf einer Schule lernen” would be understood, but not idiomatic. “Auf einer Schule arbeiten” would be understood as referring to the teachers and other staff employed there, not the students.

[quote=“Schnitte, post:2, topic:852875”]

If you want to say that someone is attending a school, then I think the idiomatic expression would be “auf eine Schule gehen” or “zu einer Schule gehen”. My personal preference would be the former (as in “ich gehe auf das xyz-Gymnasium”), but people also say the latter; might be a regional thing.

“Auf einer Schule lernen” would be understood, but not idiomatic. “Auf einer Schule arbeiten” would be understood as referring to the teachers and other staff employed there, not the students.[/QUO
Thanks Schnitte. I’m specifically interested in misuse of the preposition ‘auf’ and most Google results show "etwas an einer Schule lernen " and “an einer Schule arbeiten”. I just needed confirmation from a native speaker like you that ‘auf’ is the wrong preposition to use in those instances. But I’m getting used to the fact that that even native German have trouble with basic grammar. But Duden muddies the waters sometimes by deeming certain expressions acceptable in spoken but not in formal German.

Man lernt an der Schule nicht, wie man einen Behälter richtig sterilisiert, welche Anschlüsse notwendig sind und welche Ventilschaltungen erfolgen müssen.

Verfahrenstechnische Methoden in der Wirkstoffherstellung: Tipps und Tricks

https://books.google.com.hk/books?id=jWBYWkdDUbIC&pg=PP9&lpg=PP9&dq="lernt+an+der+Schule"&source=bl&ots=1QDDHrmJti&sig=ACfU3U1QYkzN1WxvV9-6YM_piAYsOycM_w&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwizqLro4I_pAhWoy4sBHcghC4IQ6AEwAXoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q="lernt%20an%20der%20Schule"&f=false

Ah, OK. It seems that this sentence is not speaking about people attending a specific school (which was the usage I had in mind in my previous answer), but more generally that the formal education taught in schools does not include that skill. Intuitively, I would say that in such usage “an der Schule” is fine, but “auf der Schule” or “in der Schule” would also work.

For what it’s worth, Duden includes this example for the usage of “auf” as a preposition: “sie ist noch auf der Schule (ist noch Schülerin)”. That looks to me like the general usage (not speaking about a specific school) you’re thinking of. The entry for “an” has no such sample phrase involving schools (nor even involving universities, where I would intuitively prefer “an”). Grimms Wörterbuch, on the other hand, says you’d use “auf” for universities but “in” for lower schools, which coincides with what I would say only on the latter count.

After thinking about this for several minutes, I’mm thoroughly confused now, so I should take a break from it to regain my feeling for language. It just confirms that picking the right (i.e., idiomatic) preposition is one of the trickiest bits about speaking correctly - for sure in a foreign language, but apparently even in your native one.

“Das habe ich in/auf der Schule gelernt.” Both are viable. I would say thaqt the usage with “auf” is more a regional usage of south German dialects, whereas “in” would be used in Northern Germany. The same goes for Universität, there is no usage difference (at least for me). In most cases the definite article would be used, even if you do not specify which school you mean (primary school, Gymnasium, etc.).

Thank you. So, if I understand this correctly, ‘auf einer Schule arbeiten’/‘an einer Schule arbeiten’ are both acceptable, though I get more results for ‘an einer Schule arbeiten’. Based on Google results, I just assumed that ‘auf einer Schule arbeiten’ was wrong or not very standard. But you’re saying it’s a regional preference. Thank you both.

Yes, to me “auf einer Schule arbeiten” sounds more like south German usage (to my north German ear). Although with that particular usage (with “arbeiten”) I would suggest not to use “auf” as it could easily be understood that the person is doing roofing work or something similar - unless it is clear from context. That might explain the higher Google count of “an”. In addion, north German usage tends to be percepted more as standard German usage (not always, but as a rule of thumb).