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At vs. In vs. On (Time Prepositions)

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Common mistakes

  1. (NG) My birthday is on June.
    1. (OK) My birthday is in June.
  2. (NG) Let’s meet on next Tuesday.
    1. (OK) Let’s meet next Tuesday.

Grammar words and phrases in context

Jack and Jenny got married in spring in the 1990s. Their son Joe was born in 1992. In fact, he was born at 4pm on June 10th. That’s the same day that Jack and Jenny got married! Jack was born in the last century, so his thinking is a bit old-fashioned.

We use at for clock time.

  1. Let’s meet at 9 o’clock.
  2. Let’s meet at 5:30pm.
  3. Let’s meet at *noon.
  4. Let’s meet at *midnight.
  5. Let’s meet at sunrise.

*Keep in mind that noon means 12pm and midnight means 12am or 0:00.

We use on for days and dates

  1. Let’s go on Saturday.
  2. Let’s go on Mondays.
  3. Let’s go on June 10th.
  4. Let’s go on February 14th.
  5. Let’s go on my birthday.

We use in for everything else that relates to time: months, seasons, years, and all other longer time periods.

  1. I was there in September
  2. I was there in the winter.
  3. I was there in 1998.
  4. I was there in the 1990s.
  5. I was there in the 20th century

We have some standard expressions of time with in and at that you need to remember.

  1. I eat breakfast in the morning.
  2. I eat lunch in the afternoon.
  3. I eat dinner in the evening.
  4. I eat snacks at night.

When you say last, next, every, this…don’t also use at, in, on.

  1. I saw Jack last week. (not in last week)
  2. He’s coming back to NY next Monday. (not on next Tuesday)
  3. I go ice skating every winter. (not in every winter)
  4. I can see you this evening. (not in this evening)

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