How to use IN, ON, AT for time and place

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The prepositions in, on, and at can be very confusing for English learners!

Today you’ll learn the basic difference between them and the correct preposition to use for time and place.

How to use in, on, at for TIME

Use in for months, seasons, years, and periods of the day:

  • in April
  • in November
  • in the winter
  • in the fall
  • in 2021
  • in 1947
  • in the 1800s
  • in the 1970s
  • in the morning
  • in the afternoon
  • in the evening
    (exception: at night)

Use on for days and dates:

  • on Friday
  • on the 4th of July
  • on my birthday
  • on Sunday

Use at for times:

  • at 9:00
  • at 5 AM
  • at half past six
  • at midnight
  • at 8:45

How to use IN, ON, AT for time and place Espresso English

How to use in, on, at for PLACE

Use in for cities, countries, rooms, buildings, and closed/limited spaces:

  • in New York City
  • in Spain
  • in the bathroom
  • in a restaurant
  • in a bus
  • in a neighborhood

Use on for streets and surfaces:

  • on Main Street
  • on Oakwood Avenue
  • on interstate 85 (a highway)
  • on the table
  • on the wall
  • on the floor

Use at for points and contexts:

  • at the bus stop
  • at work
  • at school

How to use IN, ON, AT for time and place Espresso English

In, on, at: Summary Chart

TIME

PLACE

IN

Months

  • In January
  • In October

Seasons

  • In the summer
  • In the spring

Years

  • In 2004
  • In 1986

Periods of the day

  • In the morning
  • In the evening

(exception: at night)

Cities and countries

  • In Tokyo
  • In Japan

Rooms and buildings

  • In the kitchen
  • In the supermarket

Closed spaces

  • In the car
  • In a park

 

 

TIME

PLACE

ON

Dates and days

  • On Monday
  • On February 14th
Streets

  • On Market Street
  • On Route 6

Mass public transportation

  • On the bus
  • On a train
  • On a plane

A surface

  • On the table
  • On the wall

 

TIME

PLACE

AT

Times

  • At 6:00
  • At half past three
  • At noon
Points

  • At the bus stop

Contexts

  • At school
  • At work
  • At a party

See more examples of in, on, and at

Try the quiz below to test your understanding of when to use in, on, and at!


In, On, or At?

Congratulations - you have completed In, On, or At?. You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1
My sister's arriving ______ the earliest train tomorrow morning.
A
on
B
in
C
at
Question 2
I'll start my new job ______ March 1st.
A
at
B
on
C
in
Question 3
My cousin lives ______ Australia.
A
on
B
at
C
in
Question 4
There's a meeting with the project team ______ June 23 ______ the afternoon.
A
in / at
B
on / in
C
on / on
Question 5
We're going to a baseball game ______ Saturday. Do you want to come?
A
at
B
in
C
on
Question 6
My son is waiting for me to pick him up ______ the bus stop.
A
in
B
at
C
on
Question 7
Why are your clothes ______ the floor? Please pick them up and put them away!
A
on
B
at
C
in
Question 8
I lost my wallet ______ a museum ______ Berlin.
A
at / at
B
in / at
C
in / in
Question 9
Many Brazilians drink coffee both ______ the morning and ______ night.
A
on / in
B
in / at
C
at / on
Question 10
My mother's birthday is ______ May.
A
on
B
at
C
in
Question 11
I like to go skiing ______ the winter.
A
at
B
on
C
in
Question 12
Does your class end ______ 7:30 or 8:00?
A
on
B
in
C
at
Question 13
"Where's my hairbrush?"

"It's ______ the bathroom."

A
at
B
on
C
in
Question 14
"Are you working right now?"

"No, I'm ______ home."

A
on
B
at
C
in
Question 15
When you called me, I was ______ a taxi ______ Main Street.
A
on / at
B
in / on
C
in / in
Once you are finished, click the button below. Any items you have not completed will be marked incorrect. Get Results
There are 15 questions to complete.

Clear up your doubts about confusing words… and use English more confidently!

How to use IN, ON, AT for time and place Espresso English

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