Prepositions of Time: A Comprehensive Guide




Prepositions are fundamental to the English language.
They are a small group of words that help convey direction, location, time, and relationships between objects or people. Prepositions serve as connectors that help us create coherent and meaningful sentences.
Without them, language would be much more difficult to understand and communicate.
In particular, prepositions of time are essential for helping us talk about when something happens or for how long it occurs.
These prepositions describe temporal relationships between events and help us situate them in time.
Prepositions such as “at,” “in,” and “on” allow us to specify time frames with precision.

Definition of Prepositions and Their Role in the English Language

A preposition is a word that shows the relationship between a noun or pronoun and other elements in a sentence.
It indicates a spatial, temporal, or logical relationship between the object being referred to (the noun) and another element in the sentence (usually a verb).
The most common prepositions include “in,” “on,” “at,” “of,” “by,” “with,” “to,” “from” and many others.
Prepositions serve as significant connectors in English grammar because they add details to sentences that make them more meaningful; without them, many sentences would have no clear structure or meaning.
They can help you show comparison or contrast: ‘the dog’s coat is darker than my hair,’ indicate location: ‘I am at home,’ show direction: ‘he went on holiday,’ express possession: ‘that is Sarah’s pencil,’ among others.

Explanation of Prepositions of Time And Their Importance

Prepositions of time refer to words used with regard to when something happened or for how long it continues to occur.
The use of these words helps create clarity when discussing events related to time frames such as days, weeks, months, years, and seasons.
They are important because they help to give context and precision to the exact time of an event or action.
For instance,
the preposition ‘at’ is used for indicating a precise time such as ‘at 3 pm’ or ‘at midnight.’
On the other hand, ‘in’ is used for referring to general time periods such as months and years such as ‘in March’ or “in 2022’.
The preposition ‘on’ is used for days of the week like ‘on Monday’ or specific dates like “on March 5th”.
These distinctions make it easier to communicate with others about when events are scheduled to occur.
Prepositions of time play a critical role in English language syntax.
They provide necessary information about when an event happens and allow speakers to discuss events more clearly.
By knowing how each preposition works, one can improve their communication skills by making their sentences more concise and clear.

Common Prepositions of Time

Understanding the Importance of In-depth Explanation

Prepositions are an essential part of the English language that help us to indicate the relationship between different elements in a sentence.
They allow us to convey more meaning and clarity when communicating with others.
When it comes to prepositions of time, certain prepositions, such as “at,” “in,” and “on” are commonly used and are important to understand in-depth. Preposition “at” is often used when referring to specific times.
For example,
we use “at” when discussing appointments or events taking place at a particular time,
such as “I have a meeting at 10 am tomorrow.”
Another common usage is with the word “night” where people would say something like “I sleep at night”.
A few other examples include: “I will see you at 5 pm today,” or “Let’s meet at noon.”
The preposition “in,” on the other hand, is often used when referring to long periods of time.
For example, we would say something like “I was born in 1998”,
To indicate months or years like “I will retire in 2035” and seasons such as “he will come back in summer”.
We also use ‘in’ with parts of day like morning/ afternoon/ evening. E.g., I usually work in the morning.
Preposition ‘on’ is mainly employed for days (the whole day).
E.g., I went on vacation on Monday; it also refers specific dates such as birthdays: He was born on June 10th.

Example Contexts for Each Preposition

Now that we have an idea about common prepositions related to time let’s take a look at how they can be used correctly in different contexts:
– At: As mentioned before this could be used for specific times, places and activities.
E.g., He was born at St. Mary’s Hospital. They will be having a party at the park with friends.
– In: This could be used for longer periods of time to refer to months, years, seasons which we discussed earlier.
Example contexts are; Summer vacation is in August this year.
I’m going to travel abroad in 2022
. – On: This could use for specific days or dates like we discussed earlier.
For example, Our meeting is on Monday morning. Her birthday is on the 14th of July.

Common Mistakes When Using Common Prepositions of Time

Despite the importance of understanding these common prepositions related to time, several mistakes are made while using them in different contexts.
One common mistake people make is confusing “in” with “on”, especially when describing dates and days.
Another mistake that people often make is using “at” instead of “in” or vice versa when referring to a period of time or duration.
It’s essential to keep these common mistakes in mind and practice their usage correctly so that you can communicate effectively without confusion about any given context related preposition of time usage.

Prepositions of Time

Prepositions are essential parts of speech that help indicate the relationship between nouns and other words in a sentence.
While common prepositions of time include “at,” “in,” and “on,” lesser-known prepositions such as “since,” “for,” and “during” also play a significant role in the English language.
In this section, we will explore how to use these niche prepositions correctly in different contexts.

The Preposition Since

The preposition “since” is used to indicate a starting point for an action that continues until now.
We use “since” to give specific information about the beginning of an action or event.
It is used with a fixed point in time, which can be either a date or an event.
For example, “I have been working here since 2001.”
In this sentence, 2001 is the fixed point in time from where the action started.

“Since” also indicates cause and effect relationships between events.

It tells us why something happened or its origin/cause.
For example, “The company has been struggling financially since it hired an incompetent CEO.”
In this sentence, we know that hiring an incompetent CEO caused financial struggles.

The Preposition For

The preposition “for” is used to express duration or length of time. We use it to talk about how long something has lasted or will last up until now/from now on.

For example, “I have been studying for five hours.
” This sentence means that I have studied continuously for five hours without any interruption.
We also use “for” with future events to predict how long something will continue from now on in future tense sentences like: “I will study for three more hours tonight.” This means that I plan on studying for three additional hours after my initial study session ends.

The Preposition During

“During” is a preposition that refers to an action occurring at some point in time within a specific timeframe.
We use it to describe when something happens within a particular period, usually with an emphasis on an event.
For example, “I saw the fireworks during the parade.”
This sentence means that I saw fireworks while the parade was ongoing.
During is different from other prepositions because it does not refer to a fixed point in time but instead describes continuous action for some period of that time.
For example, “The company experienced growth during the entire fiscal year.” In this sentence, growth was continuous throughout the fiscal year.
While uncommon compared to “at,” “in,” and “on,” niche prepositions such as “since,” “for,” and “during” help us express more nuanced temporal relationships between nouns and other words in English sentences.
By understanding how to use these words accurately in different contexts, we can make our writing more precise and meaning-laden.

Prepositional Phrases for Time

An Overview of Prepositional Phrases for Time

Prepositional phrases are groups of words that function like adverbs or adjectives and include a preposition, an object (often a noun or pronoun), and any modifiers of the object. Prepositional phrases can indicate a variety of things, such as location, direction, or in this case, time.
Using prepositions in combination with other words can form different prepositional phrases for various time-related contexts. Examples include “at the end of,” “by the time,” “during,” “in accordance with,” “in spite of,” and “until.” Each phrase has its own unique meaning and usage.

Examples on How to Use Prepositional Phrases for Time Correctly in Different Contexts

To understand how to use these phrases correctly in different contexts, it is important to consider the specific meaning each phrase conveys.
For instance, if you want to indicate when something will happen relative to another event or deadline, you could use the phrase
“by the time.” An example would be:
“By the time I finish my work,
I will have been working on it for five hours straight.”
If you need to specify when something happened during a period of time, such as during a conference or meeting, you might use the phrase
For example: “During my presentation yesterday afternoon at 3pm sharp…”
If you want to indicate that something is happening continuously until another point in time when it stops happening
(for example: studying until midnight), you may use until. For instance: “I will not stop studying until midnight tonight.”

Incorporating prepositions into your writing accurately can help give readers clear and concise information about when events occur.

It’s important to master using them correctly in different contexts in order to avoid misunderstandings.


Prepositional phrases for time are an important component of the English language.
Understanding how to use them properly can help you communicate effectively and efficiently.
By considering the different meanings that each phrase conveys, writers can use prepositional phrases to indicate specific moments or time frames with precision.

Common Mistakes with Prepositions of Time

Confusing “in” with “on”

One of the most common mistakes people make when using prepositions of time is confusing “in” with “on.” While both prepositions refer to a specific point in time, they are used in different contexts.
The preposition “in” is generally used when referring to longer periods of time, such as months or seasons,
while the preposition “on” is used for specific days or dates.
For example, it would be correct to say “I will visit my family in December,” but incorrect to say “I will visit my family on December.”
Similarly, it would be correct to say “My birthday is on June 12th,” but incorrect to say “My birthday is in June 12th.”
To avoid this common mistake, it’s important to think about the duration of time you’re referring to and use the appropriate preposition accordingly.
If you’re referring to a specific date, use the preposition “on.” If you’re referring more broadly to a period of time, use the preposition “in.”

Using Prepositions Incorrectly with Days

Another common mistake people make when using prepositions of time is using them incorrectly when referring to days.
For example, it’s incorrect to say “I have an appointment at Monday.” Instead, you should say either “I have an appointment on Monday” or “I have an appointment for Monday”.
Similarly, sometimes people mistakenly use “at” instead of “on” when talking about days like birthdays or holidays.
For example: “We’re having a party at Christmas.”
The correct sentence should read: “We’re having a party on Christmas.”
To avoid these mistakes, remember that when talking about days specifically and not just general times (“morning,” “afternoon,” “evening”), you should use the preposition “on.”

Not Considering Context

It’s important to remember that the choice of preposition of time can also depend on context.
For example, while generally we say “in the morning” and “at night,” there are cases where it would be more appropriate to switch the preposition: “We arrived at the airport in the morning.” or “I prefer to work at night.”
Another example is when using “on” versus “in” when referring to specific parts of a day.
For instance, if someone is scheduled for a meeting at 2 p.m., they might say either “I have a meeting at two,” or “I have a meeting in the afternoon.”
These subtle differences depend on what someone is emphasizing – whether it’s a specific time or part of day.
To avoid mistakes due to context, consider what you’re specifically referring to and how others may interpret it. If it’s not clear which preposition is correct, choose one that makes sense in that context.

Rarely Known Small Details about Prepositions of Time

Etymology and Historical Connection

Prepositions of time have a fascinating history and etymology, which can offer insights into their usage and meanings.
For instance, the preposition “from” derives from the Old English “fram,” meaning to move or progress forward.
Similarly, the preposition “until” comes from Middle English “til,” which means to tend toward a goal or objective; it originated from Norse mythology where it referred to the “destroyers of life”. Such roots reveal how deeply ingrained these prepositions are in our language and culture.
Furthermore, some prepositions of time can be traced back to ancient civilizations. For instance, “during” has its origins in Latin duringum, which means by day or daytime hours.
Similarly, “since” comes from Old English siththan meaning after that time while “for” is derived from Old English for meaning before (in a sense). Understanding these origins can help us understand why certain prepositions are used in specific contexts.

The Impact of Geography on Usage

Geography plays an important role in how we use certain prepositions of time.
For example, people living near an ocean or sea often use phrases like “by the sea” or “at the ocean,”
whereas people living inland may use different expressions like “near the river.”
Moreover, understanding geography helps explain regional variations in usage for certain phrases such as “on weekends” vs. “at weekends.”
The latter is more commonly used in British English while Americans typically say “on weekends.”
Moreover, cultural and historical factors also dictate usage in different parts of the world.
For example, some cultures have holidays that are unique to their regions which require specific usages such as ‘Holi’, ‘Eid’, ‘Diwali’ etc., all having various rituals and traditions that require specific prepositions of time.

Small Details that Make a Big Difference

There are several small details about prepositions of time that can make a significant difference in their usage and meaning.
For instance, the preposition “until” implies an endpoint, while “till” implies a duration or span of time. Similarly, the preposition “by” used with a specific day or hour means something must be done before that time whereas “until” refers to the point at which something stops.
Moreover, some prepositions have multiple meanings depending on usage. For instance, “at” can refer to a specific moment in time as well as location; whereas if you use “in”, it refers to the amount of elapsed time from starting point until now.


Understanding the rarely known small details about prepositions of time can greatly improve our language skills and improve our communication abilities.
These aspects paint a picture of how deeply rooted these words have been in society for centuries and how diverse their usages can be across different cultures and regions.
By paying attention to these details, we can effectively convey our thoughts and ideas while avoiding common mistakes made by even experienced speakers of English language.

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