Introduction to Prepositions: at, on, in

Prepositions of Place: at, on, in

At is used for a place:

  • I met her at the train station. (Here the train station is the place)
  • I am at the office.
  • I am at the supermarket.

On is used for something that is on a line or a surface:

  • The bottle is on the table. (It is on the flat surface of the table)
  • The carpet is on the floor.
  • The book is on the shelf.

In is used with names of towns and countries as well as when something is inside (not a flat surface but with sides or walls).

  • I am in
  • We are in the garden.
  • The suitcase is in the car.

Remember: it is in a car, but always on a bus, on a plane, and on a train.

 

Prepositions of Time: at, on, in

The 3 main rules to remember are:

At = an exact point in time.

Examples: at lunchtime, at midnight, at noon, at the end of the conference, at three o’clock.

  • I arrive at 1 o’clock.
  • The meeting is at lunchtime.
  • We will finish at dinner-time.

On = a day or a date.

Examples: on my birthday, on Monday, on 24th March, on Independence Day, on the first day of the semester.

  • The match is on Wednesday.
  • The shops are closed on Independence Day.
  • The conference starts on May 1st.
  • The registration is on the first day of the semester.

Remember: it is on Independence Day, on Christmas Eve, on Easter Monday, BUT at New Year, at Christmas and at Easter.

 

In = a period of time

Examples: in the afternoon, in January, in spring, in 2015.

  • We met in 2011.
  • In summer, we go to our summer house.
  • I usually drink tea in the afternoon.
  • The school term starts in September.
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