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Fitting prepositions into your busy schedule

Fortunately or unfortunately, we have to admit that time rules our life.  We’re constantly scheduling things, marking our calendars, making sure we leave on time to get to the next activity—let’s face it, we’re slaves to the clock!  And so, you can move to a nice a little cabin in the woods and use the sun as your only form to measure time or you can accept your fate and learn how to talk about time terms in English.  Sorry guys, today we’ll have to go with the latter.


  • AT-When discussing time we use the preposition at.

Ex: My ballet lesson is at 3:00 (three o’clock).
        We’re going to the theater at 7:00pm. (at 7pm).

It’s also important to remember that when asking questions about time, we can you “what time is” OR “when”.

Ex: What time is your soccer practice? It’s at 4:30 (four thirty).
        When do you have your dentist appointment?  It’s at 10:45 (ten forty five).

We use “am” and “pm” in spoken English when it’s not clear if we’re talking about the morning or evening, or if we want to emphasize an exact time.

Ex: The business meeting begins at 10am. = (at 10am sharp!)
       I start work at 8pm; it’s the night shift.


  • ON-When we talk about days of the weeks or specific dates, we use the preposition on.

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Ex:  I have English classes on Mondays and Wednesdays.
         My birthday is on December 3rd. OR My birthday is on the third of December.

Remember, we do use an article (the) with dates but we DON’T with days of the week.

Ex: I’ve got a date on Friday. –If we want to be specific we can say “this” but NEVER “the”.
       I’ve got a date this Friday.
       He’s going on vacation this Saturday.


  • IN-When we’re talking about months and years, we use the preposition in.

Ex: I have a huge project due in January.
       When did you get married? We got married in 1984.

So, until you find yourself living on the beach without a care in the world, make sure you use the right preposition when talking about time!

Abigail Franckquepohl | 121 Conversation
Autora: Abigail Franckquepohl
Profesora en 121 Conversation. Nacida en Nueva York, se ha trasladado a España para conocer otra cultura y otro idioma. Es profesora acreditada con el TEFL y lleva cinco años dando clases de inglés para extranjeros.