is used for precise TIMES
(hours and minutes)
- I have a meeting at 5 p.m.
- This train leaves from Sendai at 12:00 and arrives in Tokyo at 14:43.
It’s also used for special seasons of the year
- at Christmas, at New Year (but ON Christmas Day, ON New Year’s Day)
Some other expressions with ‘at’
- at the weekend
- at the moment, at present
- at the beginning/end of the week/holidays etc.
is used for DAYS
- on Monday, on 1st January, on a weekday, on New Year’s Day
- I usually play tennis on Tuesdays.
- I was born on 15th June.
is usually used for LONGER PERIODS
: months, years, decades and even centuries
- in January, in (the) spring, in 1980, in the last few years, in the 1960s, in the 21st century
- in the past, in the future
- I like to go skiing in winter.
It’s also used in the expression ‘in
- in the middle of the day/week/20th century, etc.
It’s used for most parts of the day
- in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening (but AT night)
is needed for RELATIVE
- today, yesterday, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, the day before yesterday
- this week, next week, last week
- this year, next year, last year
- I have to hand in my report tomorrow.
is used for precise DETAILS
- I live at 32, High Street
details of location:
- The house is at the end of the street
- My room is at the back/front of the house, at the top of the stairs
places of work, home, places to visit:
- at work, school, university, home
- at Tohoku University
- at the cinema, at the zoo
- I spent today at work.
- I am a student at Tohoku University.
- I am sitting at my desk.
is used when an object is ‘ON TOP OF
- My apartment is on the third floor.
- We all live on Earth.
- Robinson Crusoe lived on a small island for several years.
- The book is on the table.
It is also used for directions
is used when something is ‘INSIDE
‘ a larger space
- I live in Yagiyama, in Sendai, in Tohoku, in Japan, in Asia, in the northern hemisphere…
- in space, in the desert, in the sea, in the house, in the lab
Also note the expression ‘in
is needed for:
Test yourself: in, on, at or nothing?
- Please come to my office ___ 2 o’clock ___ tomorrow.
- I was born ___ August 1st.
- It snows a lot ___ northern Japan ___ winter.
- The head office of the bank is ___ no. 435, Aoba-dori Ichiban-cho.
- There is a pile of books ___ the desk.
- Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous painting is ___ the Louvre Museum ___ Paris.
- I was born ____ 1977, ____ February.
- I was born ____ 2nd April, 1982.
- Professor Tsuchida is giving a lecture ____ 5 p.m. ____ today.
- I live ____ a two-room apartment. It is ___ the fourth floor, ____ the front of the building, so I have a good view of the sea.
- Please wait for me ____ downstairs.
- I will visit my parents ____ New Year and we will have a special meal ___ New Year’s Day.
- I spend weekdays ____ work but I don’t work ____ Saturdays or Sundays.
- I am going to visit some friends ____ Nagoya ____ the weekend.
- I am planning to go to Tokyo ____ next week.
- Some time ____ the future, I would like to go to China.
- Yesterday I woke up ___ 5 o’clock ___ the morning.
- I have a meeting ___ 10 a.m. ___ Tuesday.
- Neil Armstrong walked ___ the moon ____ 1969.
- A visitor is coming to our company ____ tomorrow.
- Please come and sit ___ this desk ___ here. You can put your books ____ this shelf and your computer ____ the desk.
- My house is ___ the end of the street, ____ the right.
- Many technological changes occurred ____ the 20th century. ____ the UK, ____ the beginning of the century, many people did not travel very far. ____ now, most people have a car and ____ summer, many people spend time on holiday ____ foreign countries.
- I am very busy ___ the moment.