На (location)

by Don  

Although the most common word for “at” in Russian is «в» followed by the prepositional case, there is a set of very common nouns that use «на» followed by the prepositional case. Among the most common phrases are:

Мама на работе? Is Mom at work?
Вчера мы были на концерте Земфиры. Last night we were at a Zemfira concert
На почте покупаем марки и принимаем факсы. We buy stamps and receive faxes at the post office.
Сегодня на собрании было очень скучно. It was really boring at the meeting today.

Learning the на words is not all that difficult: by my count there are fewer than a hundred. You can take a look at my most recent list here.

На can also be translated as “on”:

За ночь у меня на лице появился огромный прыщик. Overnight an enormous pimple appeared on my face.
На верхнем этаже того здания находится частный клуб, члены которого тайно управляют всей Америкой. On the top floor of that building there is a private club, whose members secretly control all of America.
На днях на горе Леммон я увидел двух пум. A few days ago I saw two pumas on Mount Lemmon.
Интересно, есть ли на Марсе жизнь? I wonder if there is life on Mars?

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