Prepositions of time

Prepositions of time

Instructions: 

As you watch the video, look at the examples of prepositions of time. They are in red in the subtitles. Then read the conversation below to learn more. Finally, do the grammar exercises to check you understand, and can use, prepositions of time correctly.

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Daisy is at home. She has a note for Sophie from the headmaster …

We use many different prepositions for talking about time. Here we are looking at: in, on, at, during and for.

We use in, on and at for lots of different times. Here’s a table comparing the uses:

in on at

Months: in January / in April
Seasons: in spring / in winter
Years: in 1984 / in 2015
Centuries: in the 20th century
Times of day: in the morning / in the evening
Longer periods of time: in the past / in the 1990s / in the holidays

Days of the week: on Monday
Days + parts of days: on Tuesday afternoon / on Saturday mornings
Dates: on November 22nd
Special days: on my birthday / on New Year’s Eve

 

Clock times: at 7.30 a.m. / at 5 o’clock
Festivals: at Christmas / at Easter
Exceptions: at night / at the weekend

Wow! That’s a lot of uses! So I have to learn all those?

Yes, but you probably know most of them, don’t you?

Yes, maybe … Is that all of them? I mean, are there any exceptions?

Well, sometimes we don’t use a preposition of time, for example after next/this/last/every.

We go skateboarding every Saturday afternoon.
I’ll see you next Friday.

Mm, but I could also say: “I’ll see you on Friday.”

Oh yes, that's fine too. But we often leave out on with days of the week when we’re speaking.

I’ll see you Friday.

OK. Now, about dates ... You write “on 8th July” but how do you say that?

Good question! We say “on the eighth of July”.

OK, so I have to remember to say “on THE eighth OF July”.

Exactly.

One last question about in. Can I use it for the future, as in “I’ll do it in a minute”?

Yes, that’s very common. We use in for talking about something in the future a certain length of time from now.

She’ll be back in a moment.                                                                 
We’re going away in two weeks.

And can I say, “We’re going away for two weeks”?

Yes, but the meaning is completely different.

We’re going away in two weeks.  (= we leave two weeks from now)
We’re going away for two weeks. (= our holiday will be two weeks long)

Ah, and what about “We’re going away during two weeks”?

No, you can’t say that. We use for + a length of time, to say how long something goes on for, and during + a noun / noun phrase, to say when something happens.

It snowed for three hours.
It snowed during the night.

OK, that’s a useful rule. But, hang on, I can also say “It snowed in the night”.

Yes, absolutely.

And: “I did a lot of work in the holidays” or “I did a lot of work during the holidays”?

Yes, you’ve got the hang of this.

Good, so now I’m going to study for a few hours. I’ll see you on Tuesday, in the morning, at about 10 o’clock.

See you at some time during the morning!

 

Total votes: 253

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Grammar: 

Discussion

Tell us about your favourite day of the week. What time do you get up? What do you do, and when? What is the best part of the day for you?

Comments

cklj's picture
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My favourite day of the week is Saturday. On Saturday I usually get up at 9 o'clock. When I get up I usually read books, watch TV or just relaxing in my living room. I love Saturdays because on Saturday I always have a free time, to watch series, read books or workout sometimes. I also do my homework on Saturdays and study for the exams.

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8 users have voted.
AnaB's picture
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Hi! My favourite day is Saturday. I wake up in the morning, than I have breakfest at 10:00 o'clock. A go out and meet with my friends. I'm not at home about 3 houres. When I come home, I have lunch at 14:00. Than I go online about 2 houres. When i finsh, my mum than is at home, and I usualy help her in some home works.At 19:00 I have dinner. And at the night, I usualy relax, sometimes with my family, sometimes with some good book, some movie or i even don't relax. I study.
Mm the best part, i think that will be night. I don't know way, I just love it

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12 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Hi! Good question. There's a small difference. New Year's Eve is just one day (31st Dec), but Easter is actually several days. We use 'at' for festivals that are several days long. Here are some examples:

  • at Christmas (including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day)
  • at New Year (including New Year's Eve and New Year's Day)
  • at Ramadan (lasts about a month)

But if you're just talking about one day, use 'on' (for example, 'on New Year's Day'). Does that make sense?

Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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13 users have voted.
saba's picture
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my favorite days are thursday and wednesday because it's near the weekend and i like mornings because i'm fully rested and happy in the mornings

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47 users have voted.
Elcuapo's picture
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my favourite day is sunday because it is always a holiday.I usually wake up early at 6 o'clock to do my jogging.I like the morning.It's very quiet.

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39 users have voted.
alisia_ledia's picture
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My favourite day of the week is Saturday. Usually, I wake up at 8 o'clock .
Saturday is a holiday and we don't go to the school. So I can go out with friends, read a book, surf in the net, watch a movie or play games such as basketball or volleyball.
Greetings from Albania :D ^_^

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56 users have voted.
nanou's picture
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Hi,I started to pactice sport in 2008 till now almost evry day on the week at 12h oclock, I like sport so much and i like English too, I started learning English in 2010,I paractice almost evry day in the evening for an hour but on holiday I stady more , now I can make conversation and talk with anyone.
at school i don't speak a lot , but now it's okey.

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60 users have voted.
WildChild's picture
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1.My favorite day of the week is Saturday.
2.I wake up at 12 o'clock in the ,, morning ''.
3.I usually watch TV when I'm bored.
4.The best part of the day is evening , because that's the movie night that I spend with my family. :)

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64 users have voted.
Azerigirl's picture
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My favorite day is Friday. It is very luck day for me.Every day I wake up late.I am not very busy every day. My every day is boring in summer. :(

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78 users have voted.
Tricia's picture
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I like to wake up late!haha
But these days I'm busy and no holidays.
So I really miss it!
And also I used to go to the theater!

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64 users have voted.
Hrdlik's picture
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Hi guys! I am from Czech Republic and I love English so I decided to improve it & also hope to find some new FRIENDS here!!! :)

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63 users have voted.
Elana's picture
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Hi Hrdlik and welcome to the site! This is a great place to practise English and chat with other teens from all over the world.
Elana (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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59 users have voted.
Hrdlik's picture
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Is it only possible to chat with them by these comments or is there any chat? And where can I find him? Thank you! :)

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75 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture
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Hi Hrdlik,
You can use the comments to speak to other users of the site. We don't have live chat. We are in the process of improving how the comments work. 
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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72 users have voted.
Sorina's picture
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Hi everybody! I'm a new member here! The contents of this site are really helping me,that's why I'm happy to join it.And now let's get back to the subject! I usually wake up at 7 o'clock but during the summer holiday I never wake up earlier than half past nine. After I wake up,I have the breakfast,usually hot chocolate and a sandwhich. In the freetime I like very much to play the guitar and to read.

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68 users have voted.
Elana's picture
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Hi Sorina,
Welcome to the site! If you like to read, check out this blog entry about books. The tag 'books & literature' can help you find other articles or activities that may interest you. Hope to see you on the site!
Elana (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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61 users have voted.
zhongjiang's picture
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HI!Everybody!I'am from China.I'm a new member here.Now I am a middle school student .I go to school from Monday to Friday.I think it is boring.So I like weekends best.It is interesting.I can do many things.I get up at 6 o'clock.I like playing martial in the morning.You know?It is cool.but my best time is in the evening.I always watch TV on the bed .Sometimes I read books.It is so comfortable.
Thinks a lot.

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72 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Hi zhongjiang and welcome to the site :) We hope you enjoy practising English here. A reminder to everyone: please don't put any personal details in your comments. That includes your full name, email address and other website usernames. This is very important to keep you safe. Don't give your details to strangers! You are welcome to chat here on this site, though, so here's a question for you: do you still have to go to school, or have you started your summer holidays? 
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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59 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Ahhhh, the summer holiday goes by too fast! (sigh) Never mind, enjoy the last few days of the holiday and go back to school fresh and full of energy so you make a good start to the school year.
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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51 users have voted.
harmanpreet08's picture
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my favourite day is saturday as i have lot of leisure time on that day. i used to wake up at 5 o' clock for my tuitions but as now i am free, i wake up at 9 o' clock.i spend my whole day playing games and watching tv. my best part of the day is night .. but now i want to improve my english so please do help me improving it by pointing out my mistakes.thanks :)

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80 users have voted.

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