Tag Archive | prepositions of time

Prepositions of Place

UsageAt, on, in:

At, on and in are prepositions of place and show the position of people, places and things:

e.g. at the cinema on the wall in the shop


at + the + place: the cinema, theatre, school, BBE, cross roads etc.. e.g. at the bank.

at + specific place: Heathrow Airport, Buckingham Palace: e.g. at Notre Dame Cathedral.

at + specific address including the house number/name: e.g. at 33 rue de La Fayette, Paris.

N.B. In English, at is not normally used with names of villages, towns and cities.


on + a/the + surface of a place or object: shelf, wall, floor, ceiling etc.. e.g. on the table.

on + the directions: left/right/other side/nearside/far side: e.g. on the left.

on + levels of a building: first floor, second floor, top floor etc.. e.g. on the ground floor.

on + the + parts of a ship: port side/ starboard side/bow/stern.

on + parts of the body: his foot, her leg, our heads etc.. e.g. on his left arm.

on + a/the + types of transport: horse, bicycle, train, foot etc.. e.g. on the ferry, on a horse.

N.B. English people say in a car not on a car ).


in + names of countries: France, England, Poland etc.. e.g. in Belgium.

in + names of towns, villages, cities: Warsaw, London etc.. e.g. in Brussels.

in + named places: Buckingham Palace, the Louvre etc.. e.g. in Windsor Castle.

in + the + geographical regions: Auvergne, Lake District etc.. e.g. in the Alps.

in + streets, roads, avenues: Moniuszki, Fish Street etc.. e.g. in Stratford Avenue.

in + the + rooms and places: kitchen, bedroom, foyer, auditorium etc.. e.g. in the bathroom.

in + the + weather: sun, rain, hail, snow etc.. e.g. in the fog.

in + parts of the body: his foot, her leg, our heads etc.. e.g. in his foot.

in + a/the + types of transport: car, train, van, lorry, aeroplane, ship e.g. in a train.


A: In English, certain expressions are different, so must be learnt!

at the moment on holiday in a loud/angry/quiet/low voice

at this/that moment on the radio in a good/bad mood

at the same time on television in a bad temper

at no time on the menu in a suit

at present on the agenda in a new dress

at the end/beginning in clean/dirty/new shoes

B: Some expressions are used without a/the, here are some common examples:

at school in bed

at home in business

at school in hospital

at school in prison

at work

at university

at 37 k.p.h.

C: Both on and in can be used for types of transport and parts of the body:

On is used when the part of the body/type of transport is the most important detail.

In is used when position is the most important piece of information.

e.g. Peter travelled to London on the train. – type

John sat in the last carriage of the London train. – position

Joanna has a cut on her left arm. – part of the body

Ania has broken a bone in her wrist. – position in the body

D: At and in can be used with places which can contain large numbers of people: cinema, theatre, church, stadium etc..

At is used when the activity is the most important piece of information.

In is used when the place/position is the most important detail.

e.g. I will meet you for a meal at the usual restaurant.

Richard and Magda met in the foyer of the Royal Theatre.

E: Both at and to can be used with places:

At is used when there is no active movement in the phrase/sentence.

To is used when there is movement in the phrase/sentence

e.g. At school, there are forty teachers and four hundred pupils. – no movement

Marcin is cycling to London to visit his friends. – movement

F: Both at and to can follow certain verbs: the meaning of the verb is different in each case: to throw, run, shout.

e.g. Bill threw a stone to me. ( a friendly action )

Bill threw a stone at me. ( a hostile action: intending to hurt someone )

Maria ran to me. ( a friendly action )

Maria ran at me ( a hostile action: intending to attack )

Eric shouted to me. ( a friendly action )

Eric shouted at me ( a hostile action: intending to express anger )

G: The preposition by is often used with transport when the type of transport is very important: the common examples are: by aeroplane, bicycle, horse, car, ferry, horse, lorry, ship, train

e.g. The businessmen travelled to Africa by aeroplane and in Africa, they travelled by car.

N.B. Walking is travel on foot ( not by foot )

Note: Thanks to world-english.org for the information!