How to Use Prepositions AT – IN – ON in English

Prepositions of Time & Place: AT - IN - ON


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How to Use Prepositions of Place AT – IN – ON – Video

Prepositions of Time - AT, IN, ON

We use:

  • AT for a precise time
  • IN for months, years, centuries and long periods
  • ON days and dates

1.AT for a precise time            

  • at 3 o'clock        
  • at 10.30am                        
  • at noon                              
  • at dinnertime                  
  • at bedtime                        
  • at sunrise                          
  • at sunset                            
  • at the moment on New Year's Eve...

Examples:

  • I have a meeting at 9am.
  • The shop closes at midnight.
  • Jane went home at lunchtime...

2. IN for months, years, centuries and long periods

  • in May  on Sunday
  • in summer
  • in the summer
  • in 1990
  • in the 1990s
  • in the next century
  • in the Ice Age    
  • in the past/future...

Examples:

  • 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...

3. ON days and dates

  • on 25 Dec. 2010
  • on Christmas Day
  • on Independence Day
  • on my birthday
  • on Tuesdays
  • on 6 March...

Examples: 

  • Do you work on Mondays?
  • Her birthday is on 20 November.
  • Where will you be on New Year's Day?

NOTE:

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

1. AT a Point

AT tells us that the following noun is located at a specific point or location. It shows an exact position.

  • at The Empire State Building
  • at the corner
  • at the bus stop
  • at the door
  • at the top of page
  • at the end of the road
  • at the entrance
  • at the crossroads
  • at the front desk
  • at a conference
  • at a party

Examples

  • "She's waiting at the entrance."
  • "He's sitting on his chair at his desk."
  • "I work at a bank."
  • There is a dog at the top of the steps.
  • There is a woman at the bottom of the steps.
  • The postman is at the door.
  • There is a supermarket at the end of the street.

2. IN

a. IN an Enclosed Space

IN tells us the noun is in an enclosed space (surround or closed off on all sides). Basically, when something is inside something.

  • In a box.
  • In a room.
  • In a country.
  • in a traffic jam
  • in Time Square
  • in a building
  • in a car
  • in a taxi
  • in a boat
  • in a helicopter
  • in a lift (elevator)
  • in the living - room
  • in the article

b. IN Countries, Cities, Neighborhood:

  • in England
  • in London
  • in Manhattan
  • in Chinatown

Examples:

  • The dog is in the garden.
  • I have an apple in my bag.
  • David’s car is in the car park.
  • Let’s go for a walk in the forest.
  • I live in London.

3. ON

a. ON a Surface

ON tells us that the following noun is located on a surface. Use on when one thing is attatched to or touching somthing.

  • On the table.
  • On the floor.
  • On the chair.
  • on a table
  • on a wall
  • on the floor
  • on the roof
  • on the menu
  • on the page
  • on the door
  • on the shelf

Examples:

  • What’s that on the ceiling?
  • There’s a bag on the floor.
  • My books are on the table.

b. ON Means of transport:

  • on a bus
  • on a train
  • on a plane
  • on a ship
  • on a bicycle/ motorcycle
  • on a horse

c. Communications:

  • on the radio
  • on the television
  • on the phone
  • on the Internet

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