Last Updated : 01 Mar 2014

The Expression of Time

Definition :
Some prepositions show when something happens. They are called Prepositions of time.

At

For a certain moment or point in time

e.g

at seven o’clockat noonat midnight
at surriseat sunsetat dawn
at duskat half-past sevenat about seven
at Christmasat Easterat Dewali

On

For a day, days, a date, dates, at the required time, at the exact minute

e.g

For Dateson 6thon 26th
For Dayson Saturdayon Monday
For Date, Months and Yearon December 25thon 15th August, 1947
For Festivalson Christmas dayon my birth day
At the required / exact timeon timeon the dot

In

For an event, seasons, length of time taken

e.g

For Monthsin Januaryin December
For Yearsin 1947in 90’s
For seasonsin winterin summer
For period of timein the summer holidayin the afternoon
At the required / exact timeon timeon the dot
Length of time takenin five hours / daysin this week
For an eventin timeTry to get here in time to help me

Note: (in, on and at)

in the morningin the afternoonin the evening
on Sunday morningon Monday afternoonon Saturday evening
at nighton Monday night

 

By

By is used to denote the latest time by which something was or is to be done. The implication that it may be done before then, and not later.

e.g

by Sundaynot later than Sunday
on Sundayexactly

Before / After

Before denotes previous to a time, and After denotes subsequent to a time.

e.g

before seven o’clockafter two o’clock

Since / For

Since is used for a point in time and For is used for period of time.

e.g

since last yearbetween a past time and now
for yesterdayduring a length of time

Since means when and For means for how long

since 1980for last week
since Christmasfor last month
since last Thursdayfor six o’clock
since seven yearsfor seven days
since a long timefor seven months

During

During is used to express the idea, for part of a period

e.g

work during the daysleep during the night

 

Note : The prepositions at, on, in are not used if the noun giving a time is preceded by an adjective.

e.g

I met him last Sundayon last Sunday
She goes there every dayon every day

 

Note : Yesterday, today and tomorrow, besides being nouns, are also used as adverbs and therefore do not take a preposition.

e.g

He shall meet you tomorrownot on tomorrow
She has come todaynot on today

To, Of

To and OF denote minutes before the hour

e.g

It’s nine to tenIt’s nine of ten

Until, Within, Towards, Through

e.g

He slept through the dayThey will be here within five minutes
The party will last until fiveIt was towards evening when she called

The Expression of Place or Location

Place of Residence : In

e.g

Many people live in citiesShe lives in California

similarly : in a village, in the desert, in a country, in a city, but at the seaside and on an island

For villages and smaller towns : At

e.g

I met him at San FranciscoHe lives in San Francisco

But if a person lives there, or because he happens to be there at the moment of speaking : in

Houses, Streets

For a kind of house or residence, when no specific one is mentioned, use in

e.g

She lives in a small houseHe lives in a big house

(Similarly : in a modern house, in a hotel, in a cottage, in a flat, in a mansion, etc.)
For a particular house or place of residence, use at.

He lives at 12 car street

For the names of streets and roads, use in

She lives in car street

Place of work

For the kind of place, use in if it is a building

His father works in a college

(Similarly : in an office, in a shop, in a factory, in a restaurant)
But if it is not a building : use on

on a farmon the railwayon an estate

If a particular place is indicated, at is generally used.

at the Town Hallat the railway stationat the City General Hospital

For a particular room of department, use in

She is working in the French Department

The Expression of Direction

e.g

acrossHe goes across the road
intoHe walks into the room
alongHe rides along the road
out ofShe goes out of the area
ontoCat is jumping onto the table
throughThe message sent through email
fromThe train moves from London
away fromThe train away from London
forThe plane is leaving for Spain
withThe boat sails with the wind

The Expression of Numbers

e.g

about (approximately)There were about 200 people there
around (approximately)There were around 200 people there
over (more than)She has over a hundred books on that subject
above (more than)She has above a hundred books on that subject
under (less than)The car costs under a thousand dollars
between (higher than one number and lower than another)The tickets will cost between twenty and twenty-five dollars
from (subtraction)Three from ten equals seven
by (multiplication)Three multiplied by four equals twelve
into (division)Three into twelve equals four

The Expression of Weather

duringWe stayed at home during the storm
inThe children played in the snow
onI sit on the balcony on sunny mornings
during a floodduring an earthquake
in the good weatherin the cold water
on rainy weekendson nice day

Some Important Phrases for on

on purposeon holidayon television
on the radioon the phoneon fire
on time (not late)on dutyon leave
on the corneron the balconyon the sofa
on the beachon the left side on his arm

Some Important Phrases for at

at (the age of) 20at 50 killometers an houron business
at 100 degreesat night or during the nightat the end of
at the momentat the weekendat the busstop
at the doorat the traffic lightsat the top of the page
at the bottom fo the pageat homeat work
at schoolat collegeat university
at the stationat the airportat David’s house
at the doctor’sat the butcher’sat a conert
at a football matchat the kitchen sinkat the beach
good at Englishangry at somethingbad at grammar

Some Important Phrases for about

talk aboutspeak aboutthink about
hear aboutknow abouta book about
a question abouta programme about

Some Important Phrases for of

get rid of
accused ofafraid ofapprove of
sure ofaware ofboast of
careful ofcareless ofcured of
die offull ofglad of
proud oftake care of

Some Important Differences in Prepositions

Made of and Made from

When one substance is changed into another, so that a new substance is produced, we use from, but when the original material is not actually changed, but is formed into some object, then we use of.

Her dress was made of silkFlour is made from wheat
superior toinferior to
junior tosenior to
sit on a chair (without arms)sit in a chair (with arms)
write in inkwrite in pencil
write with a pencilwrite with a pen
write in English and FrenchTranslate English into French
a work bya painting by
useful to a personuseful for a purpose
agree with a personagree to a proposal
angry with a personangry at something
on the ground flooron the first floor
come in my car (own)come by car (taxi)

Some Important Phrases for with

pleased withhappy withagree with
angry withsatisfied withcontented with

Some Important Phrases for by

by busby autoby car
by lorryby trainby ship
by planeby seaby air

 

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