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Prepositions of Place

Prepositions of Place (At, In, On)

homesitemapcommon errors prepositions of place
The prepositions "at," "in," and "on" are regularly used in expressions of place. For example:

"At" is used for a precise point.

  • at the bus stop correct tick
  • at the front door correct tick
  • at the entrance correct tick
  • at the reception desk correct tick

"On" is used with a surface.

  • on the street correct tick
  • on the carpet correct tick
  • on the floor correct tick
  • on the front cover correct tick

"In" is used for an enclosed space.

  • in my pocket correct tick
  • in the box correct tick
  • in the car correct tick
  • in the garden correct tick
prepositions of place

Your Go!

It's your go. Select the correct preposition:

More Examples with "At"

"At" is generally used for a precise point:
  • Meet me at the park bench. correct tick
  • Sarah works at the club house. correct tick
  • Matt saw the owl at the barn. correct tick

More Examples with "On"

"On" is generally used with a surface:
  • The printer in on my desk. correct tick
  • Please put the candle on the ledge. correct tick
  • The drinks are on the counter. correct tick

More Examples with "In"

"In" is generally used with for an enclosed space:
  • I am in my room. correct tick
  • The mouse is in the box. correct tick
  • We are sitting in my car. correct tick
These guidelines are quite well-observed. However, there are exceptions, which should be learned as set phrases (or collocations, i.e., words that sound natural when used together).

Set Time Phrases

Here are some set phrases that are not obvious fits for the guidelines presented above.

Set Phrases with "At":

PhraseExample
at homeShe is currently at home.
at schoolJack met Jill at school.
at the bottomThe treasure is at the bottom of the sea.
at the topI'll meet you at the top of the mountain.
at workI hope you do not act like this at work.

Set Phrases with "On":

PhraseExample
on televisionWhat is on television tonight?
on the radioI heard you on the radio yesterday.
on the left/rightThe bank is the first building on the left.
"On" is also used with modes of transport, but not cars and lorries (these are treated as "enclosed spaces" that we in):
PhraseExample
on a bikeChrist on a bike! You did what?
on a busThe dog was found on a bus.
on a horseYou look confident on a horse.
on a planeIt is a film about deadly snakes on a plane.
on a shipHer father worked on a ship for forty years.
on a trainWe should travel on a train next time.

Set Phrases with "In":

PhraseExample
in a rowI rolled three sixes in a row.
in the newspaperDon't believe anything you read in the newspaper.
in the skyThere was a double rainbow in the sky.
"In" is also used with locations:
PhraseExample
in FranceI was lost in France.
in LondonIt is too expensive to live in London.
in FloridaMy aunties all worked in Florida during the 1980s.
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This page was written by Craig Shrives.

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