Lesson ninth

Prepositions "On," "At," and "In"

A preposition is a word that links a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase to some other part of the sentence.

Prepositions can be tricky for English learners. There is no definite rule or formula for choosing a preposition. In the beginning stage of learning the language, you should try to identify a preposition when reading or listening in English and recognize its usage. 

  • to the office
  • at the desk
  • on the table
  • in an hour
  • about myself

A preposition is used to show direction, location, or time, or to introduce an object. 

Here are a few common prepositions and examples.

On

Used to express a surface of something:

  • I put an egg on the kitchen table.
  • The paper is on my desk.

Used to specify days and dates:

  • The garbage truck comes on Wednesdays.
  • I was born on the 14th day of June in 1988.

Used to indicate a device or machine, such as a phone or computer:

  • He is on the phone right now.
  • She has been on the computer since this morning.
  • My favorite movie will be on TV tonight.

Used to indicate a part of the body:

  • The stick hit me on my shoulder.
  • He kissed me on my cheek.
  • I wear a ring on my finger.

Used to indicate the state of something:

  • Everything in this store is on sale.
  • The building is on fire.

At

Used to point out specific time:

  • I will meet you at 12 p.m.
  • The bus will stop here at 5:45 p.m.

Used to indicate a place:

  • There is a party at the club house.
  • There were hundreds of people at the park.
  • We saw a baseball game at the stadium.

Used to indicate an email address:

Used to indicate an activity:

  • He laughed at my acting.
  • I am good at drawing a portrait.

In

Used for unspecific times during a day, month, season, year:

  • She always reads newspapers in the morning.
  • In the summer, we have a rainy season for three weeks.
  • The new semester will start in March.

Used to indicate a location or place:

  • She looked me directly in the eyes.
  • I am currently staying in a hotel.
  • My hometown is Los Angeles, which is in California.

Used to indicate a shape, color, or size:

  • This painting is mostly in blue.
  • The students stood in a circle.
  • This jacket comes in four different sizes.

Used to express while doing something:

  • In preparing for the final report, we revised the tone three times.
  • A catch phrase needs to be impressive in marketing a product.

Used to indicate a belief, opinion, interest, or feeling:

  • I believe in the next life.
  • We are not interested in gambling.

 

Prepositions "Of," "To," and "For"

Of

Used for belonging to, relating to, or connected with:

  • The secret of this game is that you can’t ever win.
  • The highlight of the show is at the end.
  • The first page of the book describes the author’s profile.
  • Don’t touch it. That’s the bag of my friend’s sister.
  • I always dreamed of being rich and famous.

Used to indicate reference:

  • I got married in the summer of 2000.
  • This is a picture of my family.
  • I got a discount of 10 percent on the purchase.

Used to indicate an amount or number:

  • I drank three cups of milk.
  • A large number of people gathered to protest.
  • I had only four hours of sleep during the last two days.