In a Chinese sentence, the already known information is stated first, followed by the new information.
If the person or object whose location will be reported is known, we should use the structure with 在 .
It is a common mistake to use the verb 是 before 在 as well. There is no need to do this.
The hotel is on the left
jiǔdiàn zài zuǒbian
A friend is at school
péngyou zài xuéxiào
How to express location if the adverbial modifier of place is a person
The adverbial modifier of place tells us about the place where something happens. It answers the question “where?”.
There are cases where the adverbial modifier of place is not the place itself, but the person.
For example: I’m at my grandmother's, he is at a friend's.
In such sentences, we should use the pronoun 这儿 /这里 after the person if the speaker is in the same place. When the person and the speaker are in different places we should use the pronoun 那儿 /那里 .
I'm at my grandma's
wǒ zài nǎinai zhèr
He is at a friend's
tā zài péngyou nàr
We can also express the location relative to other objects or places
If there is a person after 在, the particle 的 may be omitted. In other cases, 的 may be used optionally.
The bank is to the left of the hotel
yínháng zài jiǔdiàn de zuǒbian
This building is on my left
zhè zuò lóu zài wǒ zuǒbiān
How to ask the question “where?”
To ask about a location, we should ask a question with 在哪儿 or 在哪里 .
Where is Mom?
māmа zài nǎr
How to express location with the verb 有
With 有 , we can express that there is some abstract object or a person which is unknown to the interlocutor.
There is no subject in the structure with 有.
There is a bank in the south
nánbiān yǒu yínháng
There is a hotel to the left of the bank
yínháng zuǒbiān yǒu jiǔdiàn
To ask a question, we should use the word 什么 after 有.
What's to the left of the bank?
yínháng zuǒbiān yǒu shénme
How to express location with the verb 是
The constructions with 有 and 是 are similar.
However we use 是 to clarify or confirm the location of a specific object or person.