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: 591

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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

DROPE's picture
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My favorite day of week is sunday, because I get up at 11 o´clock am, and always in the afternoon go to play football with my friends in our football team.

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6 users have voted.
pierina's picture
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My favourite day of the week is Saturday. On Saturday I usually get up at 10 o'clock. When I get up I usually watch TV or just relaxing in my living room. I love Saturdays because on Saturday I always have a free time, to watch series, go out with my friends or the party or workout sometimes. I also do my homework on Saturdays .

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5 users have voted.
cristophersaa's picture
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My favorite day of the week is Saturday because I wake up at 11:00 than I eat breakfast at 11:30. After than I tried to play soocer withmy friends.

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5 users have voted.
Eseban's picture
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my favorite day of the week is Sunday because I wake up early in the morning, eat breakfast away from home and in the afternoon I play football and all my family is there.

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6 users have voted.
mike95rob's picture
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my favorite day of the week is saturday because I wake up early, eat breakfast with my mom then usually in the afternoon i go to shopping and in the night i watch tv or read a book if i don´t have a party

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6 users have voted.
stephania1799's picture
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My favorite day of the week is Sunday because I wake up at 8:30,than I eat breakfast at 9:00. After than I go to walk with my puppy , go swimming and eat with my family. Sometimes I go out with my friends and go shopping.

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6 users have voted.
nandosc9's picture
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My favorite day of the week is friday for two reasons: first, because on fridays I don't make homework, so I can go out since the afternoon; And second, at night, my brother and I stay on my grannie's house. We eat the food that she cook and we watch movies or series at dawn, thats is the best moment on fridays, for me. the only thing that I don't like of friday is that I have to wake up at 4:30 am to go to the college, it's tired

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5 users have voted.
Angielu's picture
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My favorite day of the week is on Sunday, because I get up at 9 a.m. and then i go to the church with my parents. My best part of the day is in the afternoon, because I go to see the football game with my boyfriends and his friends.

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5 users have voted.
JennySam's picture
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My favorite day of the week is on Saturday, I get up at 11 a.m. when I wake up I watch tv for three hours, the best part of the day is at night because I go to disco with my friends and my boyfriend.

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7 users have voted.
Bean's picture
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I love Saturday and Sunday because on these days I can get up late in the morning. :p
and then I usually walk along the street and have something nice to eat. :)

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18 users have voted.
Henutsen's picture
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My favourite day of the week is Friday because the next day I don't get up early. In the morning I have a walk with my friends and we go to the cinema in the afternoon. In the evening I play cards with my father and brother and we have a good time so this is the best part of the day for me.

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53 users have voted.
Henutsen's picture
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Hello:
Can you help me, please?
I want to listen videos and audios to understand English language but it's very difficult for me.
I'm listening them so much time. I don't problem to write or reading, although, I have problems to talk and to understand videos and audios. I have ear too hard.

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57 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture
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Hi Henutsen, 
Don't panic! Listening is a difficult skill for many learners. I suggest you start by going to our Listening skills practice section. Start with Level A1 that is quite easy and listen to the audio and do the exercises. If A1 is too easy, move up to A2 then B1. Listen as many times as you need to and use the transcripts to help you. The important thing to remember is that you don't have to understand every word to get the general idea. Also, if you are watching videos you have the images to help you understand what is happening in the clip. You could try some of the videos in Video UK too. They are quite easy to follow. 
With best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

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60 users have voted.
Henutsen's picture
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Thank you very much for your soon answer Jo.
I listened Level A1 and A2 and both were very easy, but B1 is very difficult for me. In the videos or audios speak very fast.
I will go your advice and will repeat as many times as I need.

One more question: Is there an order to follow videos grammar?
Thanks for everything.
Henutsen

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58 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture
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Hi Henutsen,
That's great to hear that you've found the right level to start working on in the Listening skills practice section. If B1 is difficult, make sure you have done all the A2 listenings first. In case you need more information about our levels have a look at this page: http://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/cef-levels Then start slowly on B1 and listen to each one as many times as you need. You have the transcripts there to help you if you find it difficult at first. 
About the Grammar videos. There isn't an order to follow. The idea is that you choose the grammar points yourself as all of our users have different needs and areas of grammar that they need to work on. So just start with any of them that you think are useful for you. 
I hope this helps. 
Best wishes and good luck! Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

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68 users have voted.
egp2eamp's picture
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My favourite day is sunday as i have lot of leisure time on that day. I used to wake up at 8 o' clock but as now i am free,, i wake up at 9 o' clock. I spend my whole day playing games and watching tv.

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91 users have voted.
Avangaline03's picture
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My favorite days of the week are Friday, Thursday and ofcourse Saturday because I get to wake up late and get to meet my friends. On thursday and Friday i wake up at 7:30am and on Saturdaay 11:00 / 10:00 O clock :)

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91 users have voted.
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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98 users have voted.

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