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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #112723: At - In - On
    > Other English exercises on the same topics: Speaking | Frequent mistakes | Prepositions [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Placement test beginners: Check your spelling - Past simple or present perfect - Vocabulary: greeting people - Adjectives and prepositions - Vocabulary: on the phone - On the phone - Interacting with someone - Although / in spite of / despite
    > Double-click on words you don't understand

    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 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 the hospital at a concert  
     at the cinema   at 9 High Street
     at church   at school  
     at university    at college 
     at the pool                    at the station  
     at a hotel                      at the post office
     at the dentist's             at a friend's           
     at the baker's               at the bank       
     at home                        at work  
     at his desk                    at the entrance     
     at the bus stop              at the traffic lights
     at the crossroads         at the side 
     at the top                      at the bottom  
     at  sea 

     at the corner                     

     at Easter  at Christmas
     at night                         at dawn                 
     at 8 o 'clock at a party

     - AT is also used in some set expressions: 

     at ease at the beginning
     at risk  at once 
     at best  at worst
     at first at last 
     be good at + V-ing  be bad at + V-ing 

    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. 


    )   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 my bedroom  in my office
     in my pocket in the drawer 
     in my bag in the corner 
     in a building  in a house
     in a car in a boat
     in a village in a city
     in London in Texas
     In Australia in hospital
     in the country  in the mountains 
     in a row in a line/ a queue 
     in the rain in the sun
     in the fog in the snow
     in the clouds in the sky
     in the universe in space
     in the air in my hand
     in a letter in the newspaper
     in a picture in a mirror
     in the water in a river

    IN is also used in a few set expressions: 

     all in all  in sight
     in any case to be in 
     in my opinion  in many respects 

     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 the floor     on the ground 
     on the wall      on the carpet 
     on the bed on the desk 
     on earth  on the way
     on the left on the right
     on a bus         on foot
     on a plane      on a train
     on horseback on a bicycle
     on television    on the radio
     on the road  on the first floor 

    - ON is used in some set expressions

     on the one hand ...=> on the other hand...
     on and off on duty


    - 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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    'Mum, I cannot find the doll that I had left my bed. '
    '' Argh Lucy! It must be your drawer or Claire's bag.' Err, after all, I think it’s my desk, my bedroom, the first floor... '
    'Mom, I really want it with me the coach... '
    'Lucy, we won't take the coach... we'll be a plane tomorrow, not the road. Are you sure you didn't leave your doll the post office, or Dad's car
    'Look! I can see it the carpet, the sitting room. my opinion, you should put it away the left of the table, with your things...'



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