The use of /at/ – /on/ – /in/ prepositions of time in the English language

Prepositions of time in the English language Today we will talk about prepositions – an important part of English grammar.

Students are often get confused with the use of a certain preposition mainly due to the fact that in different languages prepositions are used differently.

If you too are having troubles with the use of prepositions – do not worry! Because there are lots of other students learning English as a foreign language who have the same troubles with prepositions. This does not mean that you are not capable of learning English.

In some cases there are certain rules, while in the the other you should learn the stable expressions by heart. But if you study English on a regular basis, then you would naturally remember the correct use of prepositions.

Today I will tell you about the three little words – three prepositions that occur quite often in the English language.

These prepositions are: at, on, in.


They can be used to refer to time or place.

In this lesson we will look at the use of these prepositions referring to time.

at 12:30, 3 p.m.

noon, midnight

on Saturday, Mondays

New Year’s Day, Dec. 5-th

in September
the Summer
the 1960s
the Middle Ages


The ‘at’ preposition

This preposition is used when we talk about specific, exact, certain time.

For example:

at 12:30, at 5 o’clock, at 3:55

Here we are talking about a specific time.

The ‘at’ preposition is also used in such expressions as: at midnight, at noon.

The ‘on’ preposition

Compared to the ‘at’ preposition the ‘on’ preposition is used when we speak about a bigger time period.

For example: one day or an event (date) – on Saturday, on Mondays


For example you can say:

My yoga class meets on Mondays.


The ‘on’ preposition is also used with the holidays:

on New Year’s Day.

We’re going to meet on December 5th.

The ‘in’ preposition

Among all of these three prepositions ‘in’ is used when speaking of the biggest time period.

Sometimes when you are not sure about the use of the right preposition, you can use the ‘in’ preposition, because it includes all the time periods. In other words it is used in the broadest sense (speaking of time).

But I would suggest that you still remember these basic rules and use the right prepositions.

So, the ‘in’ preposition is used with months, seasons, years, decades and other time periods.


I was born in September.

I was born in the Summer

I was born in in 1995.

It happened in the Middle Ages.