Prepositions of time

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

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.

Transcript

Daisy: Hi, Mum, How's it going?

Sophie: Fine thanks, honey. How was school?

Daisy: Good. I've got a note for you from Mr Oliveira.

Sophie: Who's Mr Oliveira? Your Portuguese teacher?

Daisy: I don't study Portuguese, Mum. You know that.

Sophie: True. But you could. It's a very useful language. They speak it in Brazil ...

Daisy: Mum, he's the new headmaster at college. And he isn't Portuguese – or Brazilian. He's British. But I think he said his parents are from Goa.

Sophie: Goa? Wow. The headmaster ... Ah yes, I remember him. I met him at Christmas when I went to your school for that concert. In December, anyway. A very nice man, yes.

Daisy: Mum ...

Sophie: It would be good to speak to him about his parents' country. I could interview him, then visit Goa in summer … no, too hot maybe ... in autumn ...

Daisy: Well, he'd like to see you again too.

Sophie: Really?

Daisy: He wants you to go into school on Monday or Tuesday next week.

Sophie: Oh? Have you done something wrong?

Daisy: No, of course not! You know me. He wants to ask if you can give a talk about your work and your blog, your travels, that sort of thing. One day in April, during Careers Week.

Sophie: So on Monday or Tuesday? What time?

Daisy: In the afternoon or in the early evening. At 5 o'clock, if you can.

Sophie: Hmm. I can go at half past four on Tuesday, if that's OK.

Daisy: I'll ask.

Sophie: Let me see. I'm away in Moscow for three days in April ... but during your school holidays, I think. I'm going to Russia to write about traditions at Easter – oh, and then I'm away again at the end of the month. But I'm at home for two or three weeks. I can't go on Monday evening, because I have a tai chi class, and then I have to work at night. I have a video call at midnight ... Yes, definitely. I'll go in on Tuesday afternoon.

Daisy: Can you write a note or send him an email, please?

Sophie: I'll phone him during the day tomorrow. I'm free for a few hours in the morning.

Daisy: OK, I'll tell him. Where are you?

Sophie: Here in town. I'm at the travel agent's. I'm chatting to your friend Jenna – I hadn't seen her for months! I didn't know she was working here; she's organising my flights to Russia. Do you want to speak to her? 

Daisy: No, it's OK, I'll see her at the weekend. We're going to a party on Saturday night.

Sophie: OK, well I'll be home in about an hour – at about 7 o'clock probably. Pizza and a DVD tonight?

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!

 

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?

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Comments

Submitted by Bryan on Sun, 09/04/2022 - 23:24

My favorite day of the week is saturday because is very funny. First, i get up at 9:00 o'clock am, then i usually have breakfast scrambled eggs with bread at 10:00 o'clock am. i play videogames at 10:30 am to 4:00 o'clock pm. after then i go to dinner with my family at 8:15 pm and finally i go to my bed at 12:30 am.

Submitted by cherry00 on Sat, 07/23/2022 - 16:36

My favourite day of the week is Friday. I wake up at 6.45 a.m. I go to school on Friday and in the afternoon I go shopping or I meet my friends. I love Friday because is the last day of school.

Submitted by Baldbanana on Thu, 07/14/2022 - 12:01

I prefer Saturday, because I usually do nothing or can go shopping with mum or have a small walk. I like night, because of sleeping. I usually wake up between 8.30 am and 13 pm. Last Saturdays I woke up at 9 am.

Submitted by Rhylan on Tue, 04/26/2022 - 18:15

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? My favourite day of the week is Friday because is the last day in school and I know the next day is weekend. I get up in 10 a.m when there are not school. When I wake up I make a breakfast and eat at 10:30 o'clock. After this I go to the training volleyball in the afternoon at 13:00 o'clock. My best part of the day is night bacause I sleep.
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Submitted by Chayanne on Fri, 12/17/2021 - 17:27

And i Love this page.
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Submitted by Chayanne on Fri, 12/17/2021 - 17:26

And Fridays Always get up at the same Times every day
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Submitted by Chayanne on Fri, 12/17/2021 - 17:19

My favourite day of the week is a Monday.I usually get up early morning to preparing for class.My favourite time is 3 pm , but I launch.

Submitted by Ema_tavo on Tue, 08/31/2021 - 13:36

My favorite day of the week will change when i will know which day I'm having which school subject in my new school. Last year it was Thursday.

Submitted by maxlee on Tue, 06/01/2021 - 08:29

My favority day of the is Sunday. it is because i can do anything in this day

Submitted by Arivelde on Thu, 03/18/2021 - 01:05

Maybe my favorit day is Saturday, because thats when I can sleep until I can't no more, relaxing all the trubles of the week. On Saturday is also the day that usually I watch films with my family, so that's realy nice. And also it is the weekend, so just freedom.
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Submitted by Cfvdv on Thu, 03/11/2021 - 22:28

My favorite day of the week is Sunday. I get up at 10 a.m. The best time of the day for me is in the afternoon, because I normally have barbecue with my family for dinner.
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Submitted by Kostantinus on Sat, 01/23/2021 - 10:15

My favourite day of the week is Monday, because it is the first day of studying week. I like studying very much and during the weekend I miss the school subjects, teachers and my classmates. That is my story. See you around! By!

Submitted by MariaAvila on Wed, 10/28/2020 - 20:02

My favorite day is friday. I wake up at 9 am and the best part of the day for me is the afternoon

Submitted by Luna on Tue, 08/18/2020 - 09:28

My faviorte days are saturday and at the weekend but I don't go to school and can get up lately .
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Submitted by Sherry4869 on Sat, 08/08/2020 - 12:20

My favourite day is Friday and Saturday, the weekends. These are my holidays. I wake up lately at this time. I eat special foods. Sometimes I have party. I really love parties. I often go to visit seabeach. Seabeach is my favourite place.

Submitted by Painting on Thu, 06/11/2020 - 22:43

Hi there. Question, in the sentence "she managed without water for six days", can the preposition 'for' be omitted? In case it is not possible, why not?

Submitted by editor_rachael on Fri, 06/12/2020 - 15:18

Hi Painting,

 

You can say She managed without water for six days or She managed (for) six days without water.

 

Best wishes,

 

Rachael
LearnEnglish Teens team

In reply to by Painting

Submitted by Tincho on Wed, 05/27/2020 - 22:37

my favourite day is friday, because is the last day in the week, and i finish all the activities, and i can rest the weekend.

Submitted by violee_lorenzo on Wed, 05/27/2020 - 21:26

My favorite day is wednesday. Firs,t because it cuts the week and second because in my mind I think that there are only two days left before the weekend arrives. My day begins at 7 o'clock, I get up, I dress up, and then i have breakfast. Then I will practice dance until 12 o'clock. When I go out to dance, my dad wakes me up to school and gives me lunch, in school I am usually until 6:30, and when I leave school I go to hockey until 9 o'clock. And finally I go back to my house, I take a shower, I have dinner and finally I do homework or study and go to sleep.

Submitted by FedericoB8 on Wed, 03/25/2020 - 19:13

my favorite day of the week is Saturday. I usually get up at 10 and have breakfast, after I play with the play station. In the afternoon I have a football game, then I have dinner and then I go out with my friends.

Submitted by marchese on Mon, 03/23/2020 - 10:11

My favourite day of the week is Saturday. I don't have a fixed schedule, I get up when I wake up; sometimes I get up at eight, other times I wake up at eleven, it depends. I usually relax on Saturdays: drawing, listening to music, watching movies, reading, painting, chatting with my friends, etc. but the part of the day that I prefer most is the night. I call myself a night girl, I really like doing thing at night while everyone is sleeping!

Submitted by gattifederica on Fri, 03/20/2020 - 17:34

My favourite day of the week is Saturday. I get up at 10 o’clock, I have breakfast and I do my homework. I have lunch with my parents and then I meet my friends in the afternoon and we go shopping. I have dinner with my friends and then sometimes we go to the disco. If I don’t go to the disco, I watch TV series and I go to bed.

Submitted by Micheleanto on Fri, 03/20/2020 - 17:29

My favourite day is Saturday, I get up at 10am, I have breakfast, I do my homework and I have lunch. In the afteroon I have football match, Finally in the evening i meet with friends.

Submitted by BttChiara on Fri, 03/20/2020 - 16:15

My favourite day is Friday. On this day I wake up at 6 o’clock because I have to go at school. I get dressed at half past six and I have breakfast at a quarter to seven. After that I go to school and I study here from 8 o’clock a.m. to 1 o’clock p.m.. After that there is the best part of the day: I go whit some friends at home and we stay all together. We study, speak and watch a film together. Finally I go to the bed.

Submitted by bea_mara on Fri, 03/20/2020 - 14:50

For me the best day of the week is Friday. I wake up at 7 to go to school and I go home at 13:30. In the afternoon I do my homework or relax watching a good movie. The best part of the day is when I have training, where I have fun with my companions.

Submitted by Naogiosu7 on Fri, 03/20/2020 - 14:25

I don't have a favorite day of the Week, but usually i always get up at the same Times every day

Submitted by beasam0109 on Fri, 03/20/2020 - 13:57

Saturday, because I can do everything calmly. When I wake up I have breakfast, make my bed, read a book or listen to some music, then my family and I have lunch, we usually spend the afternoon together. In the evening we often eat pizza and then watch a movie. The afternoon is my favorite part of the day

Submitted by JasmineD03 on Fri, 03/20/2020 - 13:55

My favourite day of the week is Saturday. I usually get up around 9:30 am and have breakfast. Then until lunchtime I do my homework and after having lunch I prepare to go out with my friends. I usually go home for 6:30 pm and spend the evening eating pizza and watching movie with my family. Finally I remove make-up and watch TV series until I fall asleep. I like evrything on Saturdays, but in particular I spend time with my family because my mom works late during the week and I can't be with her so much.

Submitted by Carolina000 on Fri, 03/20/2020 - 13:50

My favourite day of the week is Saturday because I can organise slumber parties with my best friends and we can also shop and have fun outdoors. I don’t have a moment of the day that I prefer, I like everyone.

Submitted by rrfalletto on Fri, 03/20/2020 - 13:43

My favourite day of the week is Saturday because we don't go to school on Saturday so i can relax, i can go out with my friend all day. My favourite part of the day is the evening

Submitted by MatildePace on Fri, 03/20/2020 - 13:43

My favorite day of the week is Saturday because I don't go to school. I always wake up late to sleep more. I have lunch at one o'clock and after I do my homework until 4. After I take a walk in the park with my dog until 5. I have dinner at 8. Later dinner I watch a film then I go to sleep. My favorite part of the day is in the morning, because I love sleeping.

Submitted by Desy on Fri, 03/20/2020 - 12:10

My favorite day of the week is Saturday. Usually on Saturday I wake up at 10 am,I have breakfast and do some homework. Then I have lunch and after I continue to do some homework, or play with my brother or my family and I meet with my parents' friends. For me the best part of Saturday is the evening, because we meet with friends or we stay at home and watch good movies!

Submitted by Ely on Thu, 03/19/2020 - 18:58

my favorite day of the week is saturday because is my lazy day.

Submitted by MatildePace on Thu, 03/19/2020 - 14:23

My favorite day of the week is Saturday because I don't go to school. I Always wake up late to sleep more. I had lunch at 1 p.m. and after I do my homework until 4 p.m. After I take a Walk in the park with my dog until 5 p.m. I have dinner at 8 p.m. Later dinner I watch a film then I go to sleep. My fvorite part of the day is the morning because I LOVE sleeping.
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Submitted by empty on Sun, 07/07/2019 - 12:15

My favorite day of week is Saturday because this means I've got two days free ! For me , the best part of day is early morning , because everyone is asleep and I'm alone ( I love being alone ) and I can listen to music and read books . I also like afternoons , because I learn English and German at this hours .

Submitted by giorgia_marchetti on Fri, 03/20/2020 - 14:46

My favourite day of week is friday. I get up at 6.00am and i go to school. I start the lesson at 8.00 am and i finish ti at 1.00 pm. When i arrive at home i have lunch and i after my grandfather take me to my dance gym. I do 3houres of dance and at 8pm i finish it. I come back at home and I have dinner after i chat with my friend and i got to bed at 00.30am

In reply to by empty

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Submitted by Youjiro on Thu, 01/31/2019 - 13:42

My favourite day of the week is a Friday .I usually get up early morning to preparing for class .My school is so far from my house.I get up 6 am on weekday.I spend 90 minutes on public bus I do reading or gaming on smartphone.It is boring for me . My favourite time is 4 pm .That is end of time for high school .I come back home as soon as possible to do video game .

Submitted by RAKOTO on Fri, 07/27/2018 - 06:46

My favorite day of the week is friday because it's the last day at school and in my mind the next day will be a break. I get up earlier at 07 o'clook. I take my breackfast for 10 minutes, and after that i take my bath. I change my cloths and i go out to school

Submitted by Lunatik06 on Mon, 07/16/2018 - 14:16

My favority day of the week is Friday. I like it because it's finish work-week. On friday i get up at 7.30 a.m. I go to school. Students don't want learn. I go to home at 7 p.m. In the evening i walk. At 11 o'clock i go to the bed and sleep.

Submitted by Pippatwo on Thu, 06/21/2018 - 14:11

My favourite day of the week is Monday. I love it because it's the beginning of the week. I get up at five in the morning to workout and tidy up my room. It's better than cleaning at night, and I get some peace by myself to meditate on what's going on that day. It's definitely the best part of the day.

Submitted by greenlion on Sun, 04/29/2018 - 20:40

Hi Jonathan Please tell me which is correct? The film started on a spring morning. The film started in a spring morning. Thank you. Regards
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Submitted by Jonathan - Coo… on Tue, 05/01/2018 - 02:33

Hi greenlion. Your first sentence is correct. Use "in" for "the morning" in general but use "on" for a specific morning (e.g. on Tuesday morning; on the morning of 3rd May; on a cold, rainy morning). "A spring morning" means one specific morning during the spring. :)

Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

In reply to by greenlion

Submitted by GiovanaSarai on Fri, 02/16/2018 - 18:15

The table comparing use of different times was the key for this lesson!

Submitted by Srilal on Fri, 02/16/2018 - 07:43

Hi Jonathan Please tell me which is correct? She was late for school. She was late to school. Are both sentences correct or one- then which one. How can one know 'to' be used or 'for' Thank you. Regards
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Submitted by JoEditor on Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:01

Hi Sirlal,
Both of those sentences are correct. Thanks for all your comments on the site. We have a very small team working on LearnEnglish Teens and sometimes we don't have time to answer everyone's grammar questions, so don't worry if we don't always answer all your specific questions - other users from our site may help you. :)
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens) 

In reply to by Srilal

Submitted by Srilal on Sun, 02/11/2018 - 07:29

Hi Tina Thank you for you answer to my last question about to and for. Please help me in this too. Which one is correct? 1.She was late for school. 2.She was late to school. 3.Is this the flight for London 4.Is this the flight to London? Is there any reason to use to or for? Thank you. Regards
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Submitted by Jonathan - Coo… on Thu, 02/15/2018 - 07:32

Hi Srilal. 'For' often shows some kind of purpose or goal for the activity. 'To' can also have that meaning with a verb (e.g. She went to the library to study) but in your examples 2 and 4, 'to' comes with a noun. In these cases, 'to' simply shows movement in that direction. So, all the sentences are possible, but I think number 4 is more commonly used than number 3. :) Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

In reply to by Srilal

Submitted by Srilal on Thu, 02/08/2018 - 03:20

Dear Sir or Madam I kindly request you to make this clear. That is your statement: it snowed for three hours. ( How long somthing goes on) Is it alright to use present perfect instead of simple past. For eg It has snowed for three hours. Are both of these alright to use? Is it depend on the context (situation)? For eg. It snowed for three hours yesterday. Thank you. Regards
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Submitted by Jonathan - Coo… on Thu, 02/08/2018 - 03:59

Hi Srilal. Yes, both are grammatically correct but the meaning is a bit different because of the different tense. So it depends on the context, as you say.

It snowed for three hours. (past simple)

This is totally in the past. This tense is often used with a past time reference (e.g. 'It snowed for three hours last night / yesterday / on Thursday').

It has snowed for three hours. (present perfect simple)

This is somehow related to the present (the moment when you are speaking). It may be because it is snowing right now (it started snowing three hours ago and it hasn't stopped yet).

But for this meaning, it's much more common to use the present perfect continuous since that tense focuses on the length of time.

It has been snowing for three hours. (present perfect continuous)

Does that make sense?

Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

 

In reply to by Srilal

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