Prepositions of time


Prepositions of time (like all prepositions) can be one of the hardest parts of English to use correctly.

This is because the rules are often quite difficult and there are lots of exceptions!

In this lesson, we are looking at the following prepositions of time:

  • at
  • in
  • on

Here are some example sentences using prepositions of time:

  • I’m going camping at the weekend.
  • They will be here in 5 minutes
  • School starts on Monday.

Prepositions of time – ‘at

Here are the rules for using the preposition ‘at‘.

Rule #1:

For a clock time (at 5 p.m., at quarter to 12)

Example: I finish work at 5.30 p.m.

Rule #2:

For a particular time (at lunch time, at sunset)

We will be having dinner on the deck at sunset. How romantic!


Rule #3:

For a collection of days (at the weekend [the weekend includes Saturday and Sunday], at Christmas [Christmas period includes Christmas day, Christmas Eve etc])

Most games are held at the weekend.


Here are the rules for using the preposition ‘in‘.

Rule #1:

For months of the year (in February, in April)

They are getting married in March.

Rule #2:

For years (in 1990, in 2015)

I started working at the school in 2010.

Rule #3:

For part of a day (in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening) EXCEPTION: at night

I can concentrate better in the morning.

I love listening to the owls at night.

Rule #4:

For longer lengths of time: (in the summer, in the Middle Ages)

He always goes skiing in the winter.


Prepositions of time – ‘on’

Here are the rules for using the preposition ‘on‘.

Rule #1:

For days of the week (on Monday, on Tuesday etc)

I am seeing him on Wednesday.

Rule #2:

For dates (on the 4th of May, on the 26th February)

They got married on the 12th June.

Rule #3:

For specific single days (on my birthday, on New Years Eve, on Labour Day)

I am going to a party on New Years Eve.

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