Prepositions are difficult. Many students have problems with prepositions. Here are some rules for using prepositions of time.
|in||with months a||in April; in December|
|a year||in 1785; in 2011|
|seasons||in winter; in the fall of 1972|
|the morning, the afternoon, the evening||in the morning; in the afternoon; in the evening|
|a length of time into the future||in an hour (= 1 hour in the future from now); in two weeks (= 2 weeks in the future from now)|
|at||night, midnight, dawn||at night; at dawn; at midnight|
|a specific time of day||at 6 o’clock; at 8:30|
|a time of year near a holiday||at Christmas; at Easter|
|time phrases that show a specific time or moment||at the same time; at the moment|
|on||days of the week||on Monday; on Saturday|
|dates||on the 13th of November; on November 13|
|holidays and special days||on Halloween; on the Fourth of July; on my birthday|
|a part of the day when the date is given||on the morning of September the 11th*|
|for||a length or duration of time||for three weeks; for an hour|
|since||from a time in the past until now||since 2005; since this morning; since I woke up yesterday|
|from … to
|beginning and end times||from Monday to Wednesday
from Monday till Wednesday
from Monday until Wednesday
|during||in the middle of something continuing||during the week; during class|
Now you can practice using these prepositions. Work alone or with your classmates to complete the sentences. More than one answer may be possible. Ask your teacher to check your answers.
- They are getting married __________ Sunday __________ 3 o’clock.
- __________ midnight, we were awakened by the sound of a dog barking.
- The party will be __________ Sunday __________ 4:00 __________ the afternoon.
- Spring begins __________ March 21, and summer begins __________ June 21.
- The last time I saw Pedro was __________ the summer of 2006.
- The festival took place __________ August.
- They came to this country __________ August 5, 2008.
- They came to this country __________ 2008.
- The ESL classes went __________ May __________ August.
- He has not felt well __________ a long time, ever __________ his crash.
- They never go out __________ night __________ the week.
- We’ll be ready to leave __________ an hour.
- I will see you ___________ the afternoon.
- __________ the storm, all the lights were out __________ several hours.
- He has been away from home __________ January 12.
- The temperature is below zero. __________ a few hours, the pond should be frozen over.
- He had been away from home __________ two weeks.
- She will be here __________ a few hours.
- Hannah’s party is __________ the Saturday before her birthday.
- I’m sorry that my phone rang __________ class.
Talk with your classmates about these sentences. How does the meaning change with a different preposition?
- I will see you in the afternoon.
I will see you before the afternoon.
- They came to this country before 2008.
They came to this country after 2008.
They came to this country in 2008.
- We have ESL classes from January to March.
We have ESL classes in January and March.
- She will be here for a few hours.
She will be here in a few hours.