CIP Online English Learning - Preposition of Time

Preposition of Time

Teacher Michelle

Do you want to sound better in English? One way to be, is to use the right preposition. What is a preposition? Do you know when to use these words; at, in or on? Let us see how you can sound better in English by using the right one.

What is a preposition?

A preposition is a word that connects words in a sentence. They also show relationships between words. It can show where, when or how an action took place in a sentence. You would usually see it before a noun or a pronoun.

Different Kinds of Pronouns.

There are many kinds of prepositions. You are probably most familiar with prepositions of place. That means you can know where a thing is depending on its location. For example, “The cup is on  the table.” Here, the preposition “on” shows us the place where the cup is. There are also prepositions of manner, possession and so many others.

Prepositions of Time

The most common prepositions are these three; at, in and on. You can use them as prepositions of place. As prepositions of time, we can use them also relating to time. Let us have some examples.

I will see you at 3:00 p.m.

He will visit in September.

America’s Independence Day is on July 4th.

When to use prepositions of time?

We use prepositions of time to tell when things happen. Here are some general timelines how to use the most common three; at, in and on. They are really easy to remember and use.

AT – for specific time of the day

e.g. at 2:00 p.m., at night, at noon

IN – for months, seasons, years, times of the day, decades, centuries

e.g. in February, in winter, in 2022, in the morning, in the evening, in the 90’s

ON – for specific days or dates and special days

e.g. on Monday, on weekends, on New Year’s Day, on her birthday

How to Sound More Natural with Prepositions of Time

To sound like a native speaker is not just about saying it right. Being able to use the right words will make you sound more natural too. Here are some common differences to show how you would sound better in English with the right preposition.

Incorrect: See you in the weekend!

Correct: See you on the weekend! (American English)

Correct: See you at the weekend! (Both are correct. British English.)

Incorrect: We will celebrate at my birthday.

Correct: We will celebrate on my birthday.

Incorrect: She smiled to me. 

Correct: She smiled at me.

The last example is not about prepositions of time. It is a classic example, though, that using the wrong preposition makes you sound unnatural. I hope this jumpstarts your interest in prepositions. The more familiar you are with the correct preposition, the better you sound in English.