Most of language students, from beginner to advanced levels, have a nightmare with prepositions.
They don’t feel very confident when using them in daily conversations or in writing.
Here is a post for all of you who feel the same way about prepositions.
Prepositions of Time: at, in, on
- at for a PRECISE TIME
- in for MONTHS, YEARS, CENTURIES and LONG PERIODS
- on for DAYS and DATES
|PRECISE TIME||MONTHS, YEARS, CENTURIES and LONG PERIODS||DAYS and DATES|
|at 3 o’clock||in May||on Sunday|
|at 10.30am||in summer||on Tuesdays|
|at noon||in the summer||on 6 March|
|at dinnertime||in 1990||on 25 Dec. 2010|
|at bedtime||in the 1990s||on Christmas Day|
|at sunrise||in the next century||on Independence Day|
|at sunset||in the Ice Age||on my birthday|
|at the moment||in the past/future||on New Year’s Eve|
Look at these examples:
- I have a meeting at 9am.
- The shop closes at midnight.
- Jane went home at lunchtime.
- In England, it often snows in December.
- Do you think we will go to Jupiter in the future?
- There should be a lot of progress in the next century.
- Do you work on Mondays?
- Her birthday is on 20 November.
- Where will you be on New Year’s Day?
Notice the use of the preposition of time at in the following standard expressions:
|at night||The stars shine at night.|
|at the weekend||I don’t usually work at the weekend.|
|at Christmas/Easter||I stay with my family at Christmas.|
|at the same time||We finished the test at the same time.|
|at present||He’s not home at present. Try later.|
Notice the use of the prepositions of time in and on in these common expressions:
|in the morning||on Tuesday morning|
|in the mornings||on Saturday mornings|
|in the afternoon(s)||on Sunday afternoons|
|in the evening(s)||on Monday evening|
When we say last, next, every, this we do not also use at, in, on.
- I went to London last June. (not in last June)
- He’s coming back next Tuesday. (not on next Tuesday)
- I go home every Easter. (not at every Easter)
- We’ll call you this evening. (not in this evening)
Prepositions of Place: at, in, on
In general, we use:
- at for a POINT
- in for an ENCLOSED SPACE
- on for a SURFACE
|at the corner||in the garden||on the wall|
|at the bus stop||in London||on the ceiling|
|at the door||in France||on the door|
|at the top of the page||in a box||on the cover|
|at the end of the road||in my pocket||on the floor|
|at the entrance||in my wallet||on the carpet|
|at the crossroads||in a building||on the menu|
|at the front desk||in a car||on a page|
Look at these examples:
- Jane is waiting for you at the bus stop.
- The shop is at the end of the street.
- My plane stopped at Dubai and Hanoi and arrived in Bangkok two hours late.
- When will you arrive at the office?
- Do you work in an office?
- I have a meeting in New York.
- Do you live in Japan?
- Jupiter is in the Solar System.
- The author’s name is on the cover of the book.
- There are no prices on this menu.
- You are standing on my foot.
- There was a “no smoking” sign on the wall.
- I live on the 7th floor at 21 Oxford Street in London.
Notice the use of the prepositions of place at, in and on in these standard expressions:
|at home||in a car||on a bus|
|at work||in a taxi||on a train|
|at school||in a helicopter||on a plane|
|at university||in a boat||on a ship|
|at college||in a lift (elevator)||on a bicycle, on a motorbike|
|at the top||in the newspaper||on a horse, on an elephant|
|at the bottom||in the sky||on the radio, on television|
|at the side||in a row||on the left, on the right|
|at reception||in Oxford Street||on the way|