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Dates and Time

Average: 4 (24 votes)

We use phrases with prepositions as time adverbials:


At is used with:
‘Clock times’ at seven o’clock – at ten thirty – at eight fifteen
Mealtimes  at breakfast – at lunch – at dinner
Other phrases at night – at the weekend – at Christmas


In is used with:
Seasons in spring/summer/autumn/winter
In the spring/summer/autumn/winter
Years/centuries in 2013 – in 1968 – in the twenty first century


On is used with:
Days on Monday/Tuesday etc – on Valentines day – on her birthday
Dates on the 13th of June – on the 16th of April

At night

At night is used to refer to the whole night but in the night is used for a short time during the night.
I couldn’t sleep at night.
I woke up twice in the night.


Ago is used with the past simple to show how long an action happened from the time of speaking.
I spoke to James a few hours ago.
Half a century ago nobody would have even dreamed about the technology we have today.

We can combine time phrases:
I’m meeting Sarah next week at nine o’clock on Friday.
I phoned her at about ten o’clock yesterday evening.

Lesson by Tristan, teacher at EC Malta English school

Choose the right preposition for the following:

  • 1. I’ll tell Peter about the party when I see him _ the morning.

  • 2. We had an interesting discussion _ lunch after the meeting.

  • 3. Shops are normally closed _ Sundays.

  • 4. We moved out of the city to the country five months _ .

  • 5. Do you have any shops that are open _ night?

  • 6. The view from the balcony is best _ .

  • 7. This palace was built _ the fifteenth century.

  • 8. James didn’t come to work _ Monday.