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Never incorrectly use In, On, or At again when talking about time

It’s the classic mistake all students have made at one time or another, “I went home at Saturday” or “we are celebrating in Christmas”. Let’s look at a few easy tricks to never make this mistake again.

Dale Kinghorn
Dale Kinghorn
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It’s the classic mistake all students have made at one time or another, “I went home at Saturday” or “we are celebrating in Christmas”. Let’s look at a few easy tricks to never make this mistake again.

How to use the preposition “in correctly

I make my tips as easy as possible and straight to the point for everybody, so here it is:

In = (in)credibly long period of time.

So any lengthy or long period of time such as:

  • weeks
  • months
  • years
  • decades
  • seasons (winter, summer, etc)

These will all use IN. Let’s check to see if this rule is true:

It is my birthday IN January – correct.
It is my birthday at January – wrong.
I am going to Brazil IN a week – correct.
I am going to Brazil on a week – wrong.

The rule is looking true, I think 😊

How to use the preposition “on” correctly

On = (On)e Specific day or date – that’s it. Easy right?

So, if you simply think of a day of the week or a date within a month, for example,

27th of March or Tuesday, then you will always put On. Awesome!

There is an extra rule here, you also use On and AT for the weekend – cool!

Let’s test again:

On Monday I’m going to watch a film – correct.
In Monday I will go watch a movie – wrong.
I’m going for meal on the weekend – correct.
I’m going for a meal in the weekend – not so correct 😊

Looking good.

How to use the preposition “at” correctly

At = Ex(AT) time and just take out the C.

Quite simply, any time that is precise and right on the exact time, you use the preposition At.

This includes, 7 am, 9 pm, 4 pm.. and so on.

Let’s check if this rule works too:

I need to get up at 7:00 am – correct.
I need to get up on 7:00 am – definitely wrong.
I am getting my dinner at 19:00pm – totally correct.
I am getting my dinner in 19:00pm – totally not correct.

It also includes holidays such as Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.

The exceptions to these rules (as there always are) include:

In the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, and at night.

When using these rules, try to only use them as a last resort or emergency and try not to just memorize but start to notice in context as you will acquire these simple grammar rules much easier this way. Context and rich compelling INPUT is the most important thing.

Here are a few more sentence examples:

I am going to London at Christmas.
She is coming here to my flat on Wednesday.
He’s going on his trip in March.
I like to write music at night (exception).

Okay, take these rules and notice them in context and try not to worry too much about them but more about the overall MESSAGE of whatever you are reading and listening to.

EnglishWhich is correct

Dale Kinghorn

Hi, I’m Dale! I am a qualified English teacher with lots of experience teaching students. Interested in learning the effortless, fun, and non-traditional way? Then let’s connect and start learning!

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