Prepositions of Time At - On - In

A. Compare at, on and in:

  • They arrived at 5’oclock.
  • They arrived on Friday.
  • Thy arrived in October.

We use:

at for the time of day: at five o’clock, at 11:20, at midnight, at lunchtime, at sunset
on for days and dates: on Friday/on Fridays, on 25 June 1991, on Christmas Day
in for longer periods: in October, in 1988, in the 18 th century, in the past

B. We use at in these expressions:

at night
at the weekend/at weekends 
at Christmas 
at the moment/at present
at the same time


I don’t like going out at night.
Will you be here at the weekend?
Shall we meet at Christmas?
Mr Benn I busy at the moment/at present.
Emily and I arrived at the same time.

C. We say:

In the morning(s)
In the afternoon(s)
In the evening(s)

  • I’ll see you in the morning.
  • Do you work in the evenings?


on Friday morning(s)
on Sunday afternoon(s)
on Monday evening(s) etc.

  • I’ll see you on Friday morning.
  • Do you work on Saturday evenings?

D. We do not use at / on / in before last / next / this / every:

  • I’ll see you next Friday. (not on next Friday)
  • They got married last March.

In spoken English we often leave out on before days (Sunday/Monday etc.). So you can say:

  • I’ll see you on Friday or I’ll see you Friday.
  • I don’t go out on Monday morning. or I don’t go out Monday mornings.

E. In a few minutes / in six months etc.

  • The train will be leaving in a few minutes. (= a few minutes from now)
  • Andy has gone away. He’ll be back in a week. (= a week from now)
  • She’ll be here in a moment. (=a moment from now)

You can also say ‘in six months’ time’, ‘in a week’s time’ etc.:

  • They’re getting married in six months’ time. orin six months.

We also use in… to say how long it takes to do something:

  • I learnt to drive in four weeks. (=it took me four weeks to learn)

Time to Practice


Multiple choice

‘at / on / in’
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