"Der Richter ist auf der Hochzeit."
Translation:The judge is at the wedding.
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i understand completely, but for future reference, is this a peculiar "fixed" formulation? Since - in my limited knowledge/experience - auf is a bit unusual here, no? Or perhaps not at all... My experience so far is rather of seeing in / an / zu / bei to indicate persons being at 'nonspecific' locations, e.g. at the cinema, at the theatre, at the doctor.... any insight is much appreciated!
Somewhere, I came up with the following observations which I retrieved from my notes. "Auf = AT, to, on, upon." So "AT the wedding" is a possible translation. Further, I have the following rules: 1) Use "auf = to" if ending on something, going to an event or public place (e.g., Straße, Land, Toilette); 2) Use "auf = on" for location on an island. I also have the preposition "an" dfined as "an = about, an, on, to" which is very similar to "auf." But my rules for "an" help to differentiate the two, namely: 1) Use "an = at" for expressing location at or very near something (closer than would be indicated by "bei"); Use "an = to" for motion to a precise spot or to a horizontal or vertical boundary, e.g., a fence, the ocean's edge.
These rules seem to work but their specificity works against them which means that being specific, as the rules are, virtually guarantees that there are situations that the rules do not address. Nevertheless, they are what they are.
I love to use this visual for those pesky accusative/dative prepositions. http://www.acampitelli.com/either-or_prepositions.gif