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How to use prepositions of place, time & movment?

Level: A1, A2
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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.

preposition of the placemeaning
behindat the back of
betweensomething or somebody is on each side
in front ofthe part that is in the direction
below/ underlower than something or somebody
nearclose to
next tobesides
above/ overhigher than something

Here is a wall behind her back.
Our house is between the pharmacy and the school.
This city is 86 metres below sea level.
Our house is near the supermarket.
Our house is next to the supermarket.
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. 


FROMthe place where it starts
INTOentering something
OUT OFleaving something
ONTOmoving to a place
UPfrom low to high
DOWNfrom high to low
ALONGin a line; from one point to another
THROUGHgoing from one point to the other point 
ACROSSfrom one side to the other side
TOWARDSin the direction of something
OVERabove something or somebody
UNDERbelow something
AROUNDin a circular way
PASTgoing near something or somebody

Do you come from Tokyo?
He jumped out of the window.
The cat jumped onto the roof.
He went up the hill.
He came down the mountain.
He’s walking along the street.
You shouldn’t walk through the cemetery.
You must go across this road.
We ran towards the sea.
You shouldn’t go into the room.
We flew over the mountains.
We walked under the bridge.
The earth goes around the sun.
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/ monthin ancient times
in the 19th century
in 2020
in July
seasonin winter
in summer
part of a dayin the morning
in the afternoon
in the evening
PREPOSITION “ON” day/ dateon Monday
on 12th May
concrete dayon Christmas Day
on Thanksgiving Day
part of a day during the concrete dayon Sunday morning
on Friday night
on Monday afternoon
PREPOSITION “AT”hourat seven o’clock
at 6:39
at midnight
few daysat the weekend
at Christmas
mealtimesat lunchtime
at breakfast
in expressionsat 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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