Prepositions of Time

What’s wrong with these sentences?

  • I like to read books in night.
  • My cat sleeps on the morning.
  • We had to study during yesterday

Do you know the answer? The problem is that they all have incorrect prepositions of time. Here are the correct answers:

  • I like to read books at night.
  • My cat sleeps in the morning.
  • We had to study yesterday

Rules for Prepositions of Time

At

We can say “at night” or “at the weekend.”

We can also use specific times: “at five o’clock” or “at six-thirty.”

On

We use this with days: “on Monday” or “on Friday.”

We can also be more specific, adding a time to the day: “on Wednesday morning” or “on Thursday evening.”

It also works with dates: “on 1st March” or “on 25th December.”

In

This is used for periods of the day: “in the morning” or “in the afternoon.”

It’s also used for months and seasons: “in winter” or “in summer,” “in January” or “in November.”

During

This is used for whole periods of time, and can be used for events and activities: “during the week” or “during the journey.”

Grammar Practice

Correct the following sentences. (Answers are below.)

  1. I have trouble sleeping during night.
  2. We have a big family gather in Christmas Day.
  3. He starts work each day on 8am.
  4. My grandma has a nap on the afternoon.
  5. I got a sunburn at my holiday.
  6. The girl was born at the nineties.

Practical Use in IELTS

Of course, these skills can serve you well through the IELTS exam – especially for the speaking part! Even in Part One of the Speaking Exam you have numerous opportunities to talk about time, and if you make mistakes here it can be detrimental to your band score. Make sure to practice often and regularly check that you know the rules for prepositions of time.

Answers

  1. I have trouble sleeping at night.
  2. We have a big family gather on Christmas Day.
  3. He starts work each day at 8am.
  4. My grandma has a nap in the afternoon.
  5. I got a sunburn during my holiday.
  6. The girl was born in the nineties.

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Author: David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the ‘Weird Cult’ and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural China, and loves to travel.

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