"Ik zie een stoel op het bureau."
Translation:I see a chair on the desk.
Wouldn't "I see a chair at the desk" be a more logical translation or does this really mean the chair is on the desk?
There are a few locations where op is used in the meaning of at the location:
- op kantoor = at the office
- op het werk = at work
- op school = at school
- op het station = at the station
- op het stadhuis/gemeentehuis = at the city hall/municipality hall
also when you're at any big open place op is used (on top of), I'm not too sure what prepositions should be used in these situations in English:
- ik sta op het plein = I'm standing on the square
- ik ben op straat = I'm in the street
- ik ben op het land = I'm in the fields (farmland)
Maybe there are more situations where op is used when at is used in English, but I can't think of any right now. Keep in mind that prepositions are simply used differently even in languages as close as Dutch and English, e.g.:
- ik sta onder de douche = I am (standing) in the shower
- ik ben bij Saskia = I am at Saskia's
- ik eet een koekje bij mijn koffie = I eat a biscuit with my coffee
- ik sta bij het standbeeld = I'm standing near the statue
thank you, you've gotten many examples and very clear explanation! Ok I guess the prepositions in a language are fixed to the situations and are more about collocations than whether they make senses in other language's expression. :)
On the desk would only be used in English in cases where the floor is being washed or swept and the chair is physically on top of the desk otherwise, if it is on the floor, it is at or, by the desk
This is a very odd translation. How would you actually say AT the desk?