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How to use prepositions of place, time & movment?

Level: A1, A2


A preposition of place is used to refer to a place where something or someone is located. 

There are three main prepositions: in, on, at. They can be both prepositions of place and time.


We can use “in” when describing something inside. We can also use this preposition when we talking about locations in a larger area and workplaces when we see them as a physical location.

There is some paper in the litter box.


We can use “at” to referring a position or location which we see as a point and when we talking about locations at workplaces ( we see them as a place of activity.)

“At” can be used when we describe activities involving a group of people and with phrases which relate to school, college and university.

The shop is at the end of the street.


We can use “on” to referring a position on any surface and describing a position along a road or river or by the sea or by a lake.

“On” can be used when we talking about a floor. We can also use this preposition in reference to public transport.

There is a bee on the table.

The other frequently used prepositions of the place:

preposition meaning
behind at the back of

Here is a wall behind her back.

preposition meaning
between something or somebody is on each side

Our house is between the pharmacy and the school.

preposition meaning
in front of the part that is in the direction

This city is 86 metres below sea level.

preposition meaning
below/ under lower than something or somebody

There are some documents on the floor in front of the woman.

preposition meaning
near close to

Our house is near the supermarket.

preposition meaning
next to besides

Our house is next to the supermarket.

preposition meaning
above/ over higher than something

The photo hangs above my door.


Prepositions of movement show movement from one place to another place. We usually use them with verbs of motion. 

FROM the place where it starts

Do you come from Tokyo?

INTO entering something

You shouldn’t go into the room

OUT OF leaving something

He jumped out of the window.

ONTO moving to a place

The cat jumped onto the roof.

UP from low to high

He went up the hill.

DOWN from high to low

He came down the mountain.

ALONG in a line; from one point to another

He’s walking along the street.

THROUGH going from one point to the other point 

 You shouldn’t walk through the cemetery.

ACROSS from one side to the other side

You must go across this road.

TOWARDS in the direction of something

We ran towards the sea.

OVER above something or somebody

We flew over the mountains. 

UNDER below something

We walked under the bridge.

AROUND in a circular way

The earth goes around the sun.

PAST going near something or somebody

The police drove past our buildings.


preposition of time allows you to discuss a specific period such as a date on the calendar, one of the days of the week, or the actual time something takes place. 

 The main preposition of time is: at, in, on. 

They are used differently than prepositions of place (they have a different meaning).

PREPOSITION “IN”  era/ century/ year/ month in ancient times
in the 19th century
in 2020
in July
season in winter
in summer
part of a day in the morning
in the afternoon
in the evening


PREPOSITION “ON”  day/ date on Monday
on 12th May
concrete day on Christmas Day
on Thanksgiving Day
part of a day during the concrete day on Sunday morning
on Friday night
on Monday afternoon


PREPOSITION “AT” hour at seven o’clock
at 6:39
at midnight
few days at the weekend
at Christmas
mealtimes at lunchtime
at breakfast
in expressions at the moment
at the same time
at the end
at the age of


Before expressions concerning next, last, this, that, every, yesterday tomorrow no prepositions shall be used.

See you next weekend.
I went to Paris last summer. 
What are you doing this weekend?
She plays volleyball every Saturday. 
There was a storm yesterday night.
What are you doing tomorrow evening?


The preposition “for” is used when refers to a time slot:

I’ve known Alice for four years.
She’s been here for two days.
We watched TV for 3 hours yesterday.

The preposition “since” means “from a particular time in the past until a later time or until now”:

I’ve known Alice since I was 15.
She’s been here since Friday.

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