Posted by: Idioma Extra | November 9, 2011

Thursday Tidbits –Prepositions of Time

Thursday Tidbits –Prepositions of Time

Prepositions of time

Prepositions are always hard for language learners because they often do not translate well. When referring to time periods, in, on, and at are commonly used. Here is how the three prepositions are used:

At is used to refer to the most specific amounts of time, meaning it is used when referring to hours. 

Examples: I have a meeting at 5:00 pm.

      I have an appointment at 3:25pm.

On is less specific than at, and is used for days (Monday, Tuesday, etc.) and dates (December 9th).

Examples:  My birthday is on the 22nd of August.

       I always eat Chinese food on Friday.

In is the least specific and is used for any measure of time longer than a day, like weeks, months and years.

Examples: Christmas is in December.

       Some people think the world will end in 2012.

Common Mistakes

Incorrect: I have a vacation on December.

Explanation: For any time period over a day we use in.

Correct: I have a vacation in December.

Incorrect: She eats at the afternoon.

Explanation: Even though afternoon, morning, and evening are specific times of day, in is used.

Correct: She eats in the afternoon.

Check yourself

  1. My next doctor’s appointment is (in/on/at) November 22nd.
  2. (In/on/at) Sunday many people go to church.
  3. I am seeing The Lion King (in/on/at) 3:30.
  4. Sally normally flies to Panama (in/on/at) November.
  5. Laura always eats lunch (in/on/at) 12:30.

 Answers to last week’s Check Yourself

  1. (Though/Although/Even though) you were late Ms.President, the meeting started on time.
  2. I don’t eat meat. I eat fish (though/although/even though).
  3. (Though/Although/Even though) you can be crude, I can’t stay mad at my brother.
  4. (Though/Although/Even though) the plane ride was almost a full day long, I enjoyed it.
  5. (Though/Although/Even though) plastic can be recycled, it cannot be recycled indefinitely.


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