English Prepositions of Time

Overview

This module covers prepositions of time such as at, on, and in. These prepositions are used frequently in time expressions. For example: "at 5 o'clock," "on Saturday," and "in one week."

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There are many prepositions of time in the English language. At, in, and on are three common ones, and they have particular uses.

At
– at 4 o’clock / 4 pm, at sunset, at night, at noon

In
– in July, in the afternoon, in the spring, in the 20th century, in 2020

On
– on Monday, on Thanksgiving, on the weekend, on Saturday nights

These expressions omit at, in, and on whenever the words “next” or “last” are used. For example: next Tuesday, last weekend, next summer, last year.

Another exception to keep in mind is “tomorrow” and “yesterday” – neither uses at, in, or on.

Other prepositions of time include: after, before, by, during, for, from…to, from…until/till, and in.

Examples:
After the concert, we will get something to eat.
You should rest before the race.
The project must be completed by Friday afternoon.
We were silent during the speech.
Pam can talk about physics for hours.
The baby usually takes naps from to 3 pm. 
From the time he gets up until (the time) he goes to bed, Frank is very busy.
The train leaves in 10 minutes.

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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.

General Explanation:
Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
Specific Capabilities at this Level
Writing:
I can write short, simple notes and messages relating to matters in areas of immediate needs. I can write a very simple personal letter, for example thanking someone for something.
Spoken Production:
I can use a series of phrases and sentences to describe in simple terms my family and other people, living conditions, my educational background and my present or most recent job.
Spoken Interaction:
I can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar topics and activities. I can handle very short social exchanges, even though I can’t usually understand enough to keep the conversation going myself.
Reading:
I can read very short, simple texts. I can find specific, predictable information in simple everyday material such as advertisements, prospectuses, menus and timetables and I can understand short simple personal letters.
Listening:
I can understand phrases and the highest frequency vocabulary related to areas of most immediate personal relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local area, employment). I can catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements.