in, on, at, prepositions

These three prepositions are short, but to use them, we need to apply different rules and a theory that we Will explain to you in this article, so you can improve your English skills. Up next, we Will show you how to correctly use in, on, at.

In, On, At for time and place

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Like the title of this post says, these three words are grammatically classified as prepositions:

  • In means inside of.
  • On means on top of, or inside (depending on the context).
  • At means in a specific location.

You surely must be thinking that they all have a common meaning and that you can use them whenever you want to say “inside”, but the truth is that they do not work like that. 


There are rules for each of these prepositions, that we must follow and respect in order to:

1) Speak and talk correctly

2) Have effective communication skills

3) Improve your English skills

First and foremost, you need to understand that in, on, and at are prepositions of time and place. And thanks to this post we will learn how each one is used.

Preposition "In"

It is used to commonly refer to the inside of or enclosed in something. How do we use it?

  • When you are talking about closed places like a room, living room, or even a classroom.
  • When you want to communicate that something is inside an object, for example, a page separator in a book.
  • When you are talking about something that is inside a country and city.
  • When you address a specific location, for example: in the park.
  • When you are referring to a long period such as years, decades, centuries, and even seasons.
  • When you mention something relative to a schedule or part of the day, for example, Morning, afternoon, etc.
  • And specifically, if you want to mention that something is located in the corner of a room or a location.


  • I will be in the classroom from 8 AM to 5 PM.
  • I forgot my credit card in the book.
  • I live in Spain.
  • I am playing in the park
  • My favorite singer was born in 1980.
  • In the morning I ate eggs.
  • Look in the corner of the room.

The Preposition "On"

We use it to refer to something that is above an object, but it is making physical contact. You can use it in the following situations:

  • When you are talking about a celebration or a special day, for example, On my birthday.
  • The days of the week are also accompanied by the preposition on, for example, On Saturday.
  • When you are centered in the attention of an object that is above another, for example, On the table.
  • When you are giving directions, you always use “on”, for example, On the right, you will find the supermarket.
  • When you refer that something is touching a different part of the body, for example, On the arm.
  • If you talk about any means of transportation, for example, On a bus.
  • To specifically mention the weekends, we must use the preposition On, but you have to be careful because this is only used in American English.
  • If you are going to mention a detail on a page of a book or a magazine, you have to use On
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  • I will work on Monday.
  • The bracelet is on the table.
  • On the left, you will see the sun.
  • The hat is on my head.
  • I want to travel on a plane.
  • On weekends I rest.

Preposition "At"

It is used in the following situations:

  • When you refer to a common place, such as a home.
  • To mention really specific places, such as the “At Sagrada Familia Church”.
  • To make a reference to a specific place or establishment, such as, At the door.
  • To mention positions, for example, At the bottom.
  • When you talk about specific times of the time, for example, At noon.
  • If you are talking about the weekend, but this is used in British English, for example, At weekend.

«At» can also be used to refer to address the position of an object that is next to another one, but “at” is used more specifically than the other two mentioned prepositions.

Just to make it easier for you to understand, we have the following image with the prepositions in, on and at:

With this post, now you know how in, on, at do not have the same use. Practice these rules, and with time these prepositions will be easier for you to understand and use them correctly in a natural manner. As always, the team of B1B2 is always ready to help you and guide you with anything that you need. We invite you to guys us some feedback on this post! Have a nice day!

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