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Preps of time and place

Place

ATINON
AT A POINTIN A 3D SPACEON A SRFACE
At the door
At the traffic light
In the classroom
In the backpack
On the desk
On the carpet
On the sofa
TOP / BOTTOM / END OFTERRITORYFLOOR
At the top of the page
At the bottom of the stairs
At the end of the street
In Barcelona
In Spain
In the Alps
In the world
On the first floor
On the 6th floor
GROUP ACTIVITIESCAR/VANRIGHT/LEFT
At a party
At a concert
In the car
In the van
On the right
On the left
SCHOOL / UNIVERSITYWATERPUBLIC TRANSPORT
At school
At universtity
In the river
In the sea
In a lake
N the swimming pool
On the bus
On a plane
On the train
HOME / WORKPRINTED MATERIALMEDIA
At home
At work
In a newspaper
In a picture
In a book
On the radio
On TV
On the Internet
SHOPS / PUBLIC PLACES
At the chemist’s
At the bakery
At the grocery
At a café
At the cinema

at

at a point

 We use at to refer to a point near something.

  • Can you see that car at the traffic light? (=The car is at a point near the traffic light)
  • Who is that man at the door. (=The man is at a point near the door)

at the top of/at the bottom of/at the end of

 We use at in the expressions at the top ofat the bottom of  and at the end of.

  • She is at the top of the stairs. 
  • Please, sign at the bottom of the page.
  • The new café is at the end of the street. 

Group activities

 We use at to refer to group activities like parties, concerts, and other events.

  • I didn’t see you at Jackie’s party. 
  • We met at a concert. 

at + school/university/college 

We normally use at with school, university and college.

  • He is at school every morning until 12. 
  • I’m studying at Oxford University.

be at home/work 

We say be at home/at work (without the)

  • She’s at home. (NOT at the home)
  • I’ll be at work all morning. (NOT  at the work) 

at a shop or public place

 We use at to refer to shops, restaurants, cafés, etc.

  • I’m at the bakery. 
  • If you are at the chemist’s, can you buy some aspirins?

in

in a 3D space

We use in to refer to a position inside of a three dimensional space.

  • The book is in the bag. 
  • She is waiting in the classroom.  

in a space with limits

 We also use in for areas that have limits or boundaries, like continents, countries, cities, regions, etc.

  • We are in France. 
  • I love the houses in the Alps.

in a car

We use in for cars and vans.

  • They are in the car.

in the water

 We also use in when something is in the water: in the sea, in the river, in the swimming pool, etc.

  • The kids have fun in the swimming pool. 

in a picture, in a book

 We also use in for things that are printed in books, pictures, documents, etc.

  • Who’s that woman in the picture?
  • Does it say anything about the concert in the newspaper

on

on a surface

 We use on to refer to a position on a surface.

  • The book is on the table. 

on the first/second/etc. floor

We use on to refer to floors in a building.

  • The office is on the third floor. 

on the right/left

 We use on in the expressions on the right and on the left.

  • The office is on the third floor on the left. 

on the bus/train/plane

 We use on when we are using public transport: on the bus, on a train, on a plane, etc.

  • She’s on the bus right now. 

on TV/the radio/the Internet/a website

 We use on when we read, see or learn something on the media.

  • I saw it on TV last night

Time

ATINON
TIMES (of day)MONTHSDAYS of the WEEK

At 6 o’clock
At noon
At midnight
In June
In August
On Monday
On Wednesday
MEALTIMESSEASONSDATES
At lunchtime
At dinner time
In the summer
In the winter
On 9th June
On 22nd August
HOLIDAYSYEARSSPECIFIC DAYS
At Easter
At Christmas
At the weekend
In 1987On Halloween
On Christmas day
EXPRESSIONSDECADESPAST OF SPECIFIC DAYS
At present
At the moment
At night
In the 70s
In the 80s
On Monday evening
On Friday night
On Sunday afternoon
CENTURIES
In the 21st century
LONG PERIODS
In the Ice Age
In the past
In the present
PARTS OF THE DAYLAST / NEXT
at/in/on
In the morning
In the afternoon
In the evening
!! at
night
Call me
at the
next weekend.
Call me next weekend.
I went there
the
last month.
I went there last month.

Use at with times of day, including mealtimes, bedtime, etc.
at 3 o’clock, at 10.30am, at noon, at dinnertime, at bedtime, at sunrise, at sunset, at the moment

Use inwith months, seasons, years, decades, centuries and long periods of time in general

 in May, in the summer, in 1990, in the 1990s, in the 20th century, in the Ice Age, in the past/future

Use inwith parts of the day (except night)

  • in the morning
  • in the afternoon
  • in the evening
  • ¡!at night

Use on followed by days of the week, specific days and dates

 on Sunday, on Tuesday mornings, on 6 March, on 25 December 2010, on Christmas Day, on Independence Day, on my birthday, on New Year’s Eve

Also, use at in the following common expressions

  • at the weekend: I don’t usually work at the weekend.
  • at Christmas/Easter: I stay with my family at Christmas.
  • at the same time: We finished the test at the same time.
  • at present/at the moment: He’s not home at present. Try later.

last, next

 When we say last, next, every, this we do not use at, in, on.

  • I went to London last June. (NOT the last June )
  • He’s coming back next Tuesday. (NOT  the next Tuesday)

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