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Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #112723: At - In - On
At - In - On
AT, IN, ON are prepositions introducing a place or a time. How can we distinguish them and know which one to use in varied circumstances?
1) - AT is a preposition indicating a precise location where people are, or stay: some public places, shops, and precise addresses.
The preposition AT is also used to describe precise moments, hours and moments, the time, and particular precise days .
- AT is also used in some set expressions:
AT is also very often used (especially with such verbs as shoot ( I shot, shot) and throw (I threw, thrown), in order to express aggressiveness or a hostile intention.
- The naughty boy was throwing stones at birds to scare them.
2 ) IN (expressing a location) is used when an element is situated in a closed or restricted location that has limits, in waiting lines, or where speaking about documents, and also to introduce towns and cities, countries, etc. If a movement is added, use into. (Tom came into the room).
- in the kitchen - in a line - in this picture - in your letter...
IN also expresses time: in front of months: in June, in front of the different seasons : in summer, with precise moments of the day: in the afternoon.
- IN is also used in a few set expressions:
3) ON is used to express time, preceding the days of the week, or precise dates.
- a location, or place is expressed using ON, meaning that an element is placed on a surface. If a movement is simultaneous, use onto.
- on the table - on his bed - on your head...(the cat jumped onto the bed.)
- ON is used in some set expressions:
4) A FEW ODDITIES:
- Hospital and university= AT hospital / IN hospital and AT University/ IN University (depending on the context).
- He arrived at the hospital just as his mother was admitted in it.
- I'm studying for a PhD at the university. / The monument is in the university.
- A few vehicules may be real traitors. You travel IN a car, but ON a bus, ON an airplane, IN a canoe, yet ON a cruise ship... Let's be very careful...
Here you are! Of course, there is a certain logic which will help you, but let's admit that quite a great number of expressions should be learnt by heart, in this lesson! Not funny, is it? But when you know them well, you can't be mistaken! Good luck! I'm sure you'll do well!
BEWARE! The lesson is extremely long, and the expressions you have to remember are many... The text proved to be impossible to be posted in one go. As it is, it's already long and brain-teasing... Therefore, I've decided to go on in another test (number test) in order to make sure you get the success you deserve. Do not hesitate to have a pause and save and start again when your ideas are clear... Go for it, with THE FORCE !
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