I have been asked so many times for help with these English prepositions:
IN, ON, and AT
I know these prepositions are hard, trust me.
They’re hard for me too in other languages (I’m looking AT you Spanish, French, and all latin languages!), but with some rules, and a lot of practice, I know that you will get it.
I encourage you to take notes today, because I’m going to be giving you a lot of information, and taking notes will help you to remember! I, also, will do a little test with you in at the end of the video above (and at the bottom of this post) to see how well you’ve learned these prepositions.
So let’s get started:
The English Preposition: IN
Think within, in something like enclosed spaces, a car, or house, buildings, or rooms. So let’s go over some examples:
- I am driving IN my car.
- The plates are IN the cupboard.
- He is IN the bathroom right now.
- John is IN his office.
Are you getting the hang of it?
Also, we use IN when it comes to areas, regions, cities, or countries.
I live IN the south.
The Eiffel Tower is IN Paris.
She wants to live IN Brazil.
We use IN when it comes to groups.
- He is in a running club.
- She is in the book club.
We use IN when it comes to talking about liquids.
- Do you put milk IN your coffee?
- There are a lot of vegetables IN that soup.
So soup and coffee are liquids, so we use the preposition IN.
We use IN for periods of time.
Stay with me here, we use in, when it comes to the bigger periods of time, like centuries, decades, months, years, weeks, seasons, or parts of the day. Oh my goodness, that’s a lot! But let’s go over some examples to help you understand better.
He was born in the 1900s. IN, because we talked about centuries.
My dad was born in the 70s. IN, because we talked about decades.
In the year 2010 Maria moved to Spain. IN, because we talked about years.
I will start school in March. Again in, because we talked about a month.
It rains a lot in the spring. IN, because we talked about seasons.
I always exercise in the morning. IN, because we talked about a part of the day.
Okay I hope that gives you a better idea of when to use the preposition IN. We use it a lot, really! Practice writing your own examples!
Let’s move ON to the preposition ON. 😉
We use on when it comes to surfaces. For example a table or counter.
- I have a stain on my shirt. I hope not.
- He spilled milk on the counter.
We also use the preposition ON when it comes to roads and streets. So you might hear:
- George lives on Main Street.
- He lives on 7th Avenue.
We use ON when it comes to rivers, oceans, and lakes.
- Do you want to go ON the lake today, IN my dad’s boat?
So we’re on the surface of the lake, but we are in the boat. Because remember, we use in, when it comes to enclosed surfaces, like a car, or a boat.
- I have a house ON the ocean. It means the house is right there, oceanfront property.
- I want to live ON the ocean IN a sailboat.
We also use ON for means of transportation. So you might hear:
- Jason was ON the bus when he received a phone call.
- I started to feel nauseous when I was ON the airplane.
We use the preposition ON for communication as well.
- Do you like that song on the radio?
- Did you see that new series on TV?
And of course we use ON when it comes to time as well.
When we’re talking about the weekend, the days of the week, dates, or specific days and holidays with the day. Let’s go over some examples to help you with this as well.
- Do you like to rest on the weekend? Okay we’re talking about weekend, so we use on.
- On Tuesdays, Jane always goes to the gym. It was a specific day, Tuesday, so we use on.
- On April 3rd, we will have a party for my son. It was a specific date, so we use on.
- On her birthday, Heather loves to go out to eat. It was a specific day, her birthday, so we use on.
- We love to get together with our family on Christmas Day. It’s a holiday and a specific day, so we use on.
Are you getting the hang of it? How are you doing? I hope you are!
Go over these examples as many times as you need, and again I encourage you to come up with your own sentences to practice.
So last, but not least let’s talk about the english preposition AT.
At is used to talk about specific locations.
- There was a meeting at the bank today. The bank is a specific location.
- They wanted me to pick them up at the train station. Again train station, specific location.
Also, AT is used when it comes to public places or shops. So you can say:
- I’ll meet you AT the cafe AT 7 pm. Double at! 😉
We can use at when it comes to giving addresses.
- They live AT 11 Pine Street.
- He lives AT 22 Horn Boulevard.
But when it comes to giving the exact address, which usually includes a number, we use at.
- He lives AT 22nd Parker Street. If we wanted to just say the street, we could say he lives ON Parker Street.
Do you understand the difference? I hope so!
Okay, we use AT as well when it comes to hours, parts of the day, or time when we’re talking about a specific moment in time.
- I will see you AT 9 p.m. At because we talked about hours.
- He arrives AT noon. At because it’s a part of the day.
- I will meet you AT sunset. At because it’s a specific moment in time, which I love the sunset, best time!
This was a lot. I hope you’re still here with me, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, so let’s do a test. Let’s practice. Let’s see how much you guys learned. You with me? You ready? (answers at the bottom)
- He put the books ____ the table. What do you think it is?
- They live ___ 7 Water Street.
- We keep our silverware ___ the drawer.
- I was born ___ August. What do we use when we’re talking about months?
- Okay, he will meet me ___ Monday. Do you remember what we use when it comes to days?
- Maddox is playing __ the park with his friend. What do we use for specific places?
You guys are amazing, thank you so much for watching this video, for doing the little quiz at the end with me. Write in the comments on Youtube an example for me today with something that you’ve learned using one,
We have a saying, practice makes perfect, so keep practicing.
IN, ON, AT QUIZ ANSWERS
- ON, yes good job. He put the books ON the table. We use on because we’re talking about a flat surface.
- AT, yes, because it’s a specific address, so we always use AT with specific addresses.
- IN, yes because it’s an enclosed space, so we use IN.
- IN, again yes. I was born IN August, which I actually was.
- ON yes. He will meet me ON Monday. Very good, you guys are amazing!
- AT, yes. Maddox is playing AT the park with his friend.