Academia Fran Cambridge English Language Exam Preperation Centre

In, on, at

Using in, on and at with places


We use in when something is around, on all sides:
  • in the car
  • in the playground
  • in your pocket
  • in the garden
  • in the kitchen
  • swimming in the pool
in + town/country:
  • Jill lives in London.
  • Madrid is in Spain.
in + street (British English):
  • in Ship Street
  • in Queens Road


We use on for a surface:
  • lying on the rug
  • a number on the door
  • egg on your shirt
And we use on for a line:
  • Bath, on the River Avon
  • a village on this road
  • a town on the border
on + floor
  • on the second floor
on + street (U.S. English)
  • on Sixth Street
  • on Beacon Avenue


We use at for a position, a point in space:
  • someone at the door
  • sitting at my desk
  • at the intersection
We also use at for events:
  • See you at the concert
  • at the meeting
  • at the party
at + house/address
  • at 23 Station Street
  • at Jack's house
at + place on a journey
  • Does this train stop at Lewes?

Using in, on and at with time

Look at these examples:

  • It happened in 2011.
  • It happened on Wednesday.
  • It happened at one o'clock.

Now compare the following:


in + year/month/season:
  • in 2015
  • in January
  • in summer
  • in the 16th Century
in + a week or more:
  • in the spring break
  • in the winter term
in + part of the day:
  • in the mornings
  • in the afternoon


on + day/date:
  • on Tuesday
  • on the 31st October
  • on this day
on + a signle day:
  • on Christmas Day
  • on my birthday
on + day + part of day:
  • on Monday morning
  • on Thursday evenings


at + clock time/meal:
  • at seven o'clock
  • at half past three
  • at lunch (time)
  • at that time
  • at the moment
at + two or three days:
  • at the weekend (U.S. English: on the weekend)
  • at Christmas
  • at Easter

Look at these examples using night:

  • I woke up in the night. (= in the middle of the night)
  • It happened on Tuesday night.
  • I can't sleep at night. (= when it is night)

We don't use in, on or at before this, next, last,tomorrow, yesterday, and every:

  • I leave school this year.
  • We fly to Milan tomorrow.
  • It will arrive next Tuesday.
  • They went yesterday morning.
  • Sarah came last weekend.
  • I go there every winter.

in time or on time?

in time means early enough:
  • She arrived at school in time to see her friends before class.
  • Are we going to be in time to see the previews.
  • He left just in time to catch the next bus.
on time means at the right time or on schedule:
  • The train arrived on time.
  • The concert started on time.

Other meanings of in

We can use in for the time it takes to complete something:

  • She won the race in 4 minutes.
  • How many cakes could you eat in a day?

We can also use in for a future time measured from the present:

  • I'll be ready in twenty minutes. (= 20 minutes from now)
  • He's going to college in 5 days.