English Prepositions of Time


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."

Forgotten watchmaker's workplace. Watchmaker's workplace with ruined clocks.

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

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

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

– 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.

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.

Highlighted Author:

Inspirational International Women's Day Quotes for 2023

Learn with a Teacher

Private or group classes, in person or online. Find out more about our English classes here.

Smiling young african american businessman writing in diary and using laptop in creative office

Free Learning Materials

Do you like to study on your own when it’s convenient for you? Buy helpful charts, vocabulary lists, and courses.

Additional Topics

Tower Bridge in London, England
English Subordinating Conjunctions

This unit covers subordinating conjunctions, including after, although, because, before, if, and since. These occur at the beginning of subordinate or dependent clauses, and are used to combine independent and dependent clauses together.

Kicking Soccerball on Field
English Passive Voice - Part 2

This unit introduces more complex components of the passive voice.

Feeding little bird from hand
English Idioms and Idiomatic Phrases

This unit introduces some common idioms and idiomatic phrases in English. Idioms are expressions whose meaning is not literal but figurative. For example: "The early bid gets the worm."

Show More
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
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.
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.
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.