Grammar: Prepositions

Prepositions

a) At / on / in (Time)

We use:

At
 
Time
On
 
Days and Dates
In
 
Months, years and seasons

Examples:

  • I start school at five o'clock (time)
  • I go to the tennis club on Fridays (days)
  • My birthday is on the 13th of August (dates)
  • I usually go on holiday in August (months)
  • I was born in 1980 (years)
  • In Summer, I like going swimming (seasons)

Expressions with "at":

At night / At the weekend / At Christmas / At the same time / At the moment

Expressions with "in":

In the morning (s) / In the afternoon (s) / In the evening (s) / In a few minutes / In six months

We do not use "at / on / in" before "last / next / this / every":

  • We'll see you next Friday
  • I went on holiday last summer

 

 

b) In / at and on (place)

We use:

IN AT ON
A country A specific place Surfaces
Geographic region An exact address Buildings
A city, town or village Public places  
A city, town or village Shops or workplaces  
A road or street Social events  
Inside a room, building, place Building  

Examples:

  • In Spain the people speak Castilian (country)
  • We took these photos in the mountains (geographical region)
  • I used to live in London (city)
  • Selfridges is in Oxford Street (street)
  • It is very hot in the living room (room)
  • I was at my friend's house (specific place)
  • I live at 32 Bradgate, Cuffley, Herts (address)
  • We'll meet at the station (public place)
  • James is at the supermarket (shops)
  • They were at the theatre yesterday (social event)
  • Does this train stop at Paddington? (place)
  • Last night I ate at a restaurant (building)
  • I am lying on an island (surface)
  • The fly is on the ceiling (surface)
  • I am sitting on the floor (surface)

 

Expressions with "in":

In a line / in a queue / in a street / In a picture / In the world / in the sky / In a book / In a letter / In a car (taxi)

  • I was waiting in the queue for two hours
  • I read it in a book
  • I got in the car

 

Expressions with "on":

On the right (left) / On the first (second, etc.) floor / On the menu / On the coast / On a bus (train, plane, ship, bicycle, horse)

  • My house is the first on the left and I live on the third floor
  • I got on the bus

 

Expressions with "at":

At home (work, school, university, college) / At somebody's house / At the station (airport) / At sea

  • We were at sea for 3 months
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