Prepositions of time: AT, ON and IN

Prepositions are words that show things like:

TIME = at 2:00 o’clock

PLACE = in Moscow

DIRECTION = near the airport

First, we learned a few basic prepositions of place. Next, we will look at IN, ON,and AT used to describe WHEN something happens, happened, and will happen.


We use AT with specific times (hour / minutes):

  • I get up at 7 o’clock.
  • My English class starts at 10am.
  • She finishes work at 6.15.
  • I left the party at midnight.

Midnight (and midday) is a specific hour which is why we use AT.

12am = midnight
12pm = midday / noon

We use AT for a holiday period of two or more days:

  • Do you normally get together with your relatives at Christmas?
  • Did you eat a lot of chocolate at Easter?


We use ON for specific days and dates:

  • I will return it to you on Wednesday.
  • They got married on Friday the 13th.
  • We get paid on the 20th of every month.
  • I drank too much milk on New Year’s eve.

Remember that for dates, we use ordinal numbers.

E.g. the First of September (not the one of September)


We use IN for specific months, years, seasons, decades, centuries and lengths of time.

  • My birthday is in January. (I don’t mention the date, just the month)
  • My grandmother was born in 1927.
  • The river near my house is dry in summer.
  • Life was difficult in the 1940s.
  • The music was great in the eighties.
  • The company was founded in the 19th century.
  • We need to have this report ready in 15 minutes.


The New Zealand National day is in February.
(I don’t mention the day – only the month)

The New Zealand National day is on February 6th.
(I mention the day – the order is not important)

AT ON IN - Prepositions of Time in English

The Weekend

Sometimes you will hear AT the weekend and sometimes ON the weekend.

They are both correct. ON the weekend is used in United States.

  • Where did you go on the weekend? (American English)
  • Where did you go at the weekend? (British English)
The prepositions AT, ON, IN with parts of the day - English grammar rules

At the moment

I don’t want to talk about it at the moment.

We don’t use Prepositions

We do not use AT, ON, IN, or THE before these words:


The party is next Friday.

They went to the mountains last month.

Choose the correct alternative to complete the sentence.

Prepositions of place: IN, ON and AT

Prepositions are words that show things like:

TIME = at 2:00 o’clock

PLACE = in Moscow

DIRECTION = near the airport

First, let’s learn a few basic prepositions of place.

PREPOSITIONS OF PLACE show where something/someone is.

Here is a list of basic prepositions of place with example sentences:

  • The ball is on the box.
  • The ball is in the box.
  • The ball is near the box.
  • The ball is between the boxes.
  • The ball is above the box.
  • The ball is in front of the box.
  • The ball is behind the box.
  • The ball is next to the box.
  • The ball is under the box.

The video below is at a beginner level. Start by watching it if you need to review the prepositions of place.

IN = inside something

ON = just above something, but touching it

AT = an exact location or point

PRACTICE: Complete the sentences with in, on or at, and find the answers at the end of the lesson.

1. The dog is _____ London.

2. My friend is _____ the cinema.

3. The man is _____ the island.

4. The students are _____ school.

5. The teacher isn’t _____ the classroom.

6. My black bag is _____ the desk.

7. The cat is _____ the chair.

8. The boy is _____ the English class.

9. My uncle is _____ Scotland.

10. My dad is _____ work.

Now, look at the pictures in the video. Where is the ball? Choose the best preposition of place for each question.

We usually use IN with towns, cities, and countries, ON with streets, and AT with streets + number.

This was my student’s practice:

Hi Andrea,
I live in Brazil.✔️
I live in Blumenau.✔️
I live in the Salto do Norte neighborhood.✔️
I live on Luiz Wilhelm Street.✔️
I live at 47 Luiz Wilhelm street.✔
Salto do Norte is near to (❌sem o to) the Itoupava Norte neighborhood.
Salto do Norte is far from Ponta aguda.✔️
My house is next to my job.✔️

Good job Evair!?????????

ANSWERS: in 2. at 3. on 4. at 5. in 6. on 7. on 8. in 9. in 10. at

In the end or at the end?

If the uses of in the end and at the end aren’t clear to you, keep reading – they’ll make perfect sense in the end, as it’s explained at the end of this introduction. Hehe…

At the end refers to a specific time or location, while in the end is an idiomatic phrase that means in conclusion” or “in summary.”

Consider these examples:

  • At the end of the day we went home. In the end, it was a long day.
  • At the end of the game, our team won. In the end, our team won.
  • We were happy in the end. We weren’t happy at the end of the movie.
  • The heroes won in the end. The heroes celebrated at the end of their journey.

In the end

In the end means finally,” “after a long time, or, when everything is considered. It is often followed by a comma. Here are some sentences with this idiom:

  • We worked hard, and in the end, we achieved our goal.
  • In the end, everything is going to be fine.
  • All will turn out well in the end.
  • In the end we decided not to buy it.
  • I waited for a bus for an hour and, in the end, I decided to take a cab.

At the end

At the end is most commonly used followed by of, to refer to the end of a specific noun. This noun can be a physical object (book), a period of time (day), an event (class, game, concert), a place (street, avenue), or something more abstract (life).

Here are some sentences with at the end + of:

  • I’ll meet you here at the end of the concert.
  • At the end of the class, the teacher said she wanted to talk to me.
  • We all went home at the end of the game.
  • There’s this gigantic house at the end of the street.
  • I will have an answer at the end of the day, ok?
  • At the end of his life, he had no regrets.
  • Put a period at the end of every sentence.
  • I pay the phone bill at the end of each month.
  • There is a brick building at the end of the road.
  • My boss asked me to stay one more hour at the end of my shift.
  • The bathroom is the last door on the left at the end of the corridor.

Note: sometimes we can also omit the of with at the end, for example at the end of a sentence, but even so it is possible to see that we are talking about the end of something.


• This book is amazing, but I can’t tell you what happens at the end.

Also, remember that one of the best ways to learn them is by watching how they are used, when reading a book or watching a movie or a series. Notice how they are used in context.

Let’s have some practice now​.

To or for?

TO and FOR are prepositions that are often confused because they both have many different uses in English.

1. Let’s start with the basics…

If you are not sure about when to use TO or FOR, follow these two basic rules:

Rule 1: if there is a verb, use TO + infinitive

  • I came here to talk to you.
  • I study everyday to improve my English.

Rule 2: if there is a noun, use FOR

  • He came for the results.
  • I did this for the team.

That only gives us an idea of how to start, but there is much more.

I have researched and watched several videos to choose the least confusing approach. I think the following one is a smart approach. Ronnie puts it this way:



“For you” or “To you”? People and pronouns

Should you say “I sent this letter to you” or “I sent this letter for you”? The answer is – both are possible, depending on what you mean. 

  • ‘I sent this letter to you’ means that, hopefully, you will receive my letter, because you are the recipient.
  • ‘I sent this letter for you’ means that I did you a favor and took the letter to the mailbox, but the recipient is a third person.

So remember these two rules:

If there is a transfer of something to someone → TO

  • Can you give this to her?
  • I wrote the letter to her. (I wrote the letter and she will receive it soon)

If the person will benefit from a service or a favor → FOR

  • This present is for him.
  • I wrote the letter for her. (She wasn’t able to write it and I did it for her as a favor)

Now we are going to work on another video. I would like you to start with the “5 levels” lesson below. The lesson has five parts. Each section will give you a challenge. Each section is designed to be more difficult than the previous ones.

If you find a section easy move on to the following one, but if you find it difficult, stop it and start working on the second video. Watch it carefully and take notes. Then read the rest of this lesson and then finish the “5 levels” lesson.

Read the full script, take notes and take the quiz on this lesson here.

So let’s look at some key points:

To Indicate the Destination

  • Our CEO is going to Rome tomorrow.
  • We’ll head to the headquarters in a second.
  • I am traveling to our branch in Bristol next month.

We use to when we indicate the destination, and usually there is movement involved. We often use verbs such as: go to, travel to, come to, head to, mail to, send to.

But there’s one common exception: you say go home, without to.

In the construction “from … to …”

  • It’s about 5km from my house to the university.
  • I work from 5 to 9.

To tell the time

In the USA, it is quite common to tell the time by saying the hour + the minutes.


  • 5:30 – It’s five thirty.
  • 8:50 – It’s eight fifty.

However, especially in the UK, it is very common to express how many minutes there are left until you reach the next hour, once it is 30 minutes after o’clock.


  • 5:40 – it’s twenty to six.
  • 8:50 – it’s ten to nine.

With the verb “to give”

We also use to with the verbs of giving, such as givelendpaydeliver. However, with these verbs, it’s common to use a structure without to. For example, with give, you can give someone something, or give something to someone. Both structures are possible, but the first is more common.

  • So, you can say: Give the bottle to me.
  • Or: Give me the bottle.

Both are possible, but the second is more common.

Giving a reason

Reason tells you why someone does something. Here, you can use to plus an infinitive or for plus a noun. Don’t use for plus an -ing verb.


  • We need to go to the shop to buy some batteries.
  • We need to go to the shop for some batteries.

Again, you’re talking about why you’re going to the shop.


Function tells you what something is used for, for example a tool. Here, you can use three structures: to plus infinitive verb, for plus -ing or for plus noun.


  • She developed a tool to analyse data collected at different times and places.
  • She developed a tool for analysing data collected at different times and places.

Expressing the benefits of something

  • Getting this certificate will be good for your career.
  • Fruits and vegetables are good for your health.

Doing a favor

  • He picked up the mail for me.
  • I didn’t know how to write the letter and she did it for me.

Scheduling something for the future

  • I set up our interview for May 4.
  • I will schedule our next session for next Tuesday.

Preposition on

Hello, everyone! I find it necessary to post this for you here, once in a while. This time, I’ll be starting with the preposition of time and place “on”.

Ao invés de memorizarmos regrinhas, que nos confundem e onde sempre há exceções, uma abordagem muito mais inteligente e eficiente, é observarmos que palavras são usadas juntas.

I accept that

Portanto, vejamos que combinações, que palavras aparecem com a preposição on:

On Monday – Na segunda

On Tuesday – Na terça

On Wednesday – Na quarta

On Thursday – Na quinta

On FridayNa sexta

On Saturday – No sábado

On Sunday – No domingo

Vejam que se quiserem dizer “no domingo de manhã”; “no sábado à noite”; “na segunda à tarde”; etc, também usaremos on:

On Sunday (morning) – No domingo (de manhã)

On Saturday (evening)  No sábado (à noite)

On Monday (afternoon) – Na segunda (à tarde)

On Tuesday (night) – Na terça (à noite)

Quando nos referimos às datas:

On Christmas Day – No dia de Natal

On (May) (29th) – No dia (29) de (maio)

On (my) birthday No (meu) aniversário


Observem agora o uso da preposição on com algumas partes do corpo. No entanto, fiquem atentos à essas combinações e outras, pois para dizermos, por exemplo, “no meu coração”, seria in my heart. (Ou seja, mais uma vez, não pensem em regras e sim no arranjo!):

On (my) leg – Na (minha) perna

On (my) finger – No (meu) dedo

On (my) shoulder – No (meu) ombro

Vocês devem estar agora se perguntando sobre aquela regrinha que diz que usaremos a preposição on para falarmos “em superfícies”. Essa regra é até verdadeira em alguns casos, mas muitas vezes a equivalência difere (bastante!) e nem sempre a regra se aplica. Vejam:

On the table Na mesa/sobre a mesa

On the dresser – Na cômoda/sobre a cômoda

Observem as próximas combinações com on:

On the bus No ônibus

On the wall – Na parede

On the floor No chão/no andar

On the phone – No telefone

On the farm Na fazenda

Agora, ao citar nomes de ruas, os americanos usam on e os britânicos normalmente usam in:

On 26th Street – Na rua 26 (AmE)

On the 9th Avenue Na avenida 9 (AmE)

In Baker Street  Na rua Baker (BrE)

In Oxford Avenue – Na avenida Oxford (BrE)