Confused about prepositions of time?  I’m here to help!  This post contains tons of examples and will teach you to use them like a pro!

There are 10 or so commonly-used prepositions for time.That’s a long list to cover in just one blog post so I’m going to split it up into several posts.

Try memorizing prepositions in context or as phrases.  Don’t try to just memorize “on”; memorize phrases like “on Wednesday” or “on the weekend.”  Just like when you memorize the whole phrase “Hi, how are you?”, it helps you remember exactly what you’re supposed to say instead of trying to remember individual words.


On

Use “on” when referencing days of the week, specific dates, holidays, or days of celebration (birthday, anniversary, etc.).  For example:

  • I went to school on Monday. 
  • Your doctor’s appointment is on Wednesday. 
  • He was sick on Friday. 
  • We get paid on Tuesday. 
  • My birthday is on Saturday.
  • Spring break starts on March 5th.
  • On Thanksgiving, we eat turkey and mashed potatoes.  
  • I love the fireworks display on Independence Day. 

In American English, we also use “on” to talk about the weekend.  This is different from British English; they use “at.”

  • I don’t have to work on the weekend. 
  • She likes to sleep in on the weekend.
  • They like to go to the movies on the weekend. 

At

Use “at” when discussing a specific time or the night (but not the morning, afternoon, or evening!).

  • I start work at 8:30 AM.
  • We eat dinner at 6:00 PM.
  • She goes to sleep at 10:00 PM.
  • They like to watch TV at night before they go to bed.
  • I  don’t  want you to go out late at night. 

In

Use “in” when talking about seasons, a time of day (morning, afternoon, evening), year, or after a certain period of time.

  • I plant my garden in the Spring.  We go to the beach in the summer.  They start school in the fall. 
  • I exercise in the morning.  She takes a shower in the evening.  They start work in the afternoon.
  • I was born in 1979.  He graduated college in 2006.  We went to Disney World in 2004. 
  • In a year, I will start get my driver’s license.  He leaves for school in 5 minutes.  They will get married in two months. 

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