- The world's biggest and best ESL resource onlineGreat Resources For Teaching & Learning English                                                                                  

Business English

Low Beginning
High Beginning
Low Intermediate
High Intermediate

ESL Grammar Resources

Prepositions: In, On, and At Prepositions: In, On and At


Prepositions: In, On, and At (with specific times and places)

The prepositions in, on, and at can be used to indicate time and place. Notice how they are used in the following situations:



Year, Month, In 1999, In December

Country, State, City In Japan, In Utah, InTaipei


Day, Date On Saturday, On May 1

Street On Main Street, On 1st Ave.


Time At 8:00, At 7:30

Address At 815 East Main Street

In many languages, there is only one preposition for the above situations. In English there are three. Just remember that in usually indicates the "largest" time or place, and at usually indicates the "smallest" time or place.


    Q: Where's your office?

    A: In Taipei, Taiwan.

    Q: Really? What part of Taipei?

    A: It's on Chung Shan North Road.

    Q: I know that area. Where exactly is it?

    A: It's at 105 Chung Shan North Road, next to the bookstore.

    Q: When is the wedding?

    A: It's in June.

    Q: What day?

    A: It's on Saturday, the 25th.

    Q: What time?

    A: It starts at 6:00.

Prepositions with articles and locations

When talking about locations, use at to indicate the general vicinity or area, and in to indicate inside the building, enclosed area, etc. For example:

at the swimming pool (on site)

in the swimming pool (in the pool itself i.e. in the water)

at the post office/bank (general)

in the post office/bank (inside the building)

at the zoo (visitors, general area)

in the zoo (animals in their cages)

at school

in the classroom

Sample sentences:

I met my wife at the theater. (while watching a movie)

I spilled my drink in the theater (on the floor of the building)

She works at the library on Wednesdays.

She found a rare coin in the library (building).

Dr. Jones works at the hospital every day.

John was in the hospital for a week with a broken leg.

For school, prison, and church, the is used to indicate the building. No article indicates the general situation. Note the following:



in school (studying, listening to teacher, etc.)

in the school (building)

in jail/prison (staying there as a criminal)

in the jail/prison (temporary)

in church (praying, listening to a sermon, etc.)

in the church (building)

Where's Dad?

in church (attending services)

in the church (fixing the windows)

at church

at the church

in prison (He committed a crime.)

at the prison (visiting his friend)

ESL Videos to help you speak English

Rosetta Stone - English

Speak English as a Second Language

Learning English - Lesson One

English Greetings & Phrases/strong>

English Pronunciation

English - Introductions


© Copyright 2014 - All Rights Reserved Worldwide - Arlington, VA, USA

TOEFL and TOEIC are registered and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS).
No connection with is implied.

Website designed and developed by

Phrases for Conversation
Conversation Topics
Today's News Stories
Language Tutors
Speaking Situations
English Conversation Partners
Speaking Tasks
Articles for Discussion


What's New?
Places to Study
Practice Your English
Daily Lessons
Join Us on Facebook!
Verb List
Job Center
TESOL Courses
Words in the News
Pictures, Words and Audio
Grammar Explanations
Business Expressions
Teacher Resources
ESLgold Dictionary
Reading Exercises
Textbook Recommendations
Resources for Success
Current Topics
Software and CDs
Word of the Day
Academic Vocabulary Quizzes
Information Articles