Tuesday, April 6, 2010

in, on and at (time)

From: Oxford Practice Grammar : John Eastwood

in, on, at (time)

A. Saying when
Look at these examples:

It happened in 1990.

It happened on Friday.

It happened at two thirty.

Now compare:

in 1990
in September
in winter
in the 20th century

in + a week or more:
in the Eater holiday
in the summer term

in + part of the day:
in the morning
in the evenings


on + day/date:
on Wednesday
on 15th April
on that day

on + a single day:
on Easter Monday
on Christmas Day

on + day + part of day:
on Friday morning
on Tuesday evenings


at + clock time/meal time:
at three o'clock
at lunch (time)
at that time
at that moment

at + two or three days:
at Easter/Christmas
at the weekend
(USA: on the weekend)


in time or on time?

In time means "early enough" :

We got to the airport in time to have coffee before checking in.

We'll have to hurry if we want to be in time for the show.

I was about to close the door when just in time I remembered my key.


On time means "at the right time", 'on schedule'

The plane took off on time.
I hope the meeting starts on time.

Other meanings of in

We can use in for the time it takes to complete something:

I did the crossword in five minutes.

Could you walk thirty minutes in a day?


We can also use in for a future time measured from the present:

Your photos will be ready in an hour. (=an hour from now)

The building will open in six weeks. (OR in six weeks' time).

in, on and at (place)

Oxford Practice Grammar
by John Eastwood

I don't have a permission from the writer and the publisher but I hope I won't get into trouble of putting this online. I really want to help my students. Enjoy this part of the lesson. It really helps a lot.

in, on, at (place)

A. Meanings


We use in when something is around, on all sides:

in the phone box
in the playpen
in my pocket
in the garden
in the kitchen
swimming in the pool

in + town/country
Kate lives in New York
Bologna is in Italy,

in + street (Great Britain)
in Shirley Road


We use on for a surface:
lying on the rug
walk in the pavement
a number on the door
egg on your shirt

And we use on for a line:
Bath, on the River Avon
a village on this road
a town on the border

on + floor:
on the first floor

on + street (USA)
on Fifth Avenue



We use at for a position, a point in space:

someone at the door
sitting at my desk
at the crossroads

We also use at for events:

See you at the match.
at the meeting
at a church service

at + house/address:
at 65 Shirley Road
at Mike's (house)

at + place on a journey:
Does this train stop at York?


Some common phrases

in prison/hospital
in the lesson
in a book/newspaper
in this photo/picture

in the sky
in the middle
in the back/front of a car
in a queue/line/row

on the platform
on the farm
on this page
on the screen
on the island
on the beach
on the coast
drive on the right/left
on the back of an envelope

at the station/airport
at home/work/school

at the seaside

at the top/bottom of a hill
at the back of a queue
at the end of the corridor