Prepositions of Time & How to Use Them
The trouble with prepositions is that there are so many of them, they’re such short words, and they’re used in so many different ways! There are prepositions of time, of place, of movement and of manner, among others. For example, ‘on‘ can refer to place, as in ‘on the table‘, or time, as in ‘on my birthday‘. It can also be a synonym of about, as in ‘She gave a talk on grammar’. Or it can form part of a phrasal verb, as in ‘carry on‘, which means ‘continue’. Here we’re going to focus on prepositions of time and how to use them with different time expressions.
It can be difficult to remember which preposition to use when, especially when they don’t translate to the same word in your language (and they often don’t!). Students often say (and they’re not wrong!) that there aren’t many reliable rules to follow in English grammar. But in this case we’re in luck – there are some rules you can learn to follow about prepositions of time!
So what are they?
Well, most time expressions go after these three little words: at, in, on. For example at six o’clock, in September, on Monday. Or they don’t need a preposition at all, for example today, last week.
And how do you know when to use them?
That’s the important question! If you’re not sure which expressions go with which preposition, you’ll find some examples and the rules in the Grammar Reference. So you can either study that before you do the mini-test, or try the test first and then check the rules to explain any mistakes you may have made.
Remember, the choice is between at, in, on or no preposition.
There are also reminders of the rules throughout the mini-test itself; they pop up if you make a mistake.
Another practice exercise, this time on an interactive worksheet.
Complete the gaps with at, in, on or – (this ‘-‘ is a dash). You must put a dash if there’s no preposition (don’t just leave the space empty).
Press the blue ‘Finish’ button and click on ‘Check my answers’ to see if you got them all correct. If not, try again!
Remember you can make the documents bigger by clicking on the arrows to the left of the ‘Finish’ button.