A preposition is a word, usually a short one, that is used to link different words or parts of a sentence. To talk about time, schedules, routine, we need prepositions of time.
The main prepositions of time are at, in and on. Let’s see how to choose the correct preposition.
Use at with times and to say something happens at night, at the beginning or at the end of a period of time:
- I usually get up at 6:30am.
- She has an appointment at 2pm.
- We’ll leave at 9 o’clock.
- He goes to the gym at lunchtime.
- Please turn the lights off at night.
- It happened at the beginning of the year.
Use on with days of the weeks and specific dates:
- Do you work on Saturdays?
- Most London museums remain open on Sundays.
- I’ll go shopping on Monday.
- He was born on 9th April.
- I usually go to bed early on weekdays.
You can revise the days of the week here.
Note: We say on weekdays to talk about the days of the week except Saturdays and Sundays.
To talk about the weekend, the usage is different in the UK and in the US: you will hear on the weekend in the US and you will hear at the weekend in the UK.
Use in for parts of the day, months, seasons, years, decades and centuries.
- She enjoys watching her favourite television programme in the evening.
- Her birthday is in June.
- I don’t like to go swimming in the winter.
- He went to Canada in 2012.
- That band was famous in the eighties.
- James Watt was born in the 18th Century.
Here is a table that you can use as a memo:
AT ON IN 10 o’clock
the weekend (UK)
the weekend (US)
the 20th Century
Ready for a quiz? Test yourself for free with this online quiz and share your comments and results in the comment section below!
Choose the correct preposition of time: at, in or on
Here you are! You now know when to use at, in or on to refer to talk about time. Congratulations! 🙂