How to use AT, ON and IN for time expressions
is used for precise TIMES
(written in hours and minutes)
* I have a meeting at 5 p.m.
* This bus leaves from Kumamoto at 12 noon and arrives in Fukuoka at 2 p.m.
It’s also used for special seasons of the year
* at Christmas, at New Year (but ON Christmas Day, ON New Year’s Day, IN summer etc. – see below)
Some other expressions with ‘at’
* at the weekend
* at the moment, at present
* at the beginning/end of the week/holidays etc.ON
is used for DAYS
* on Monday, on 1st January, on a weekday, on New Year’s Day
* I usually play tennis on Tuesdays. (implies a regular scheduled event)
* I was born on 15th June.IN
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 the middle’ (of anything)
* 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)NO WORD
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.Download this file as a PDF.