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Preposition Use - in / at / on - prepositions of place

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In At On To with Places

This guide to the prepositions "in", "at" and "on" used as prepositions of place provides basic rules for beginning level English learners and classes. Each preposition has proper uses with three examples to help with understanding. Important exceptions are also included at the end of the lesson. Use this lesson to understand preposition use. In order to practice, write practice sentences using "in", "at" and "on" with various examples similar to the examples provided.

In

Use 'in' with spaces that you can physically walk into, or place something into:

  • in a room / in a building
  • in a garden / in a park

Use 'in' with bodies of water:

  • in the water
  • in the sea
  • in a river

Use 'in' with lines:

  • in a row / in a line
  • in a queue

At

Use 'at' with places in a town, city or other community:

  • at the bus-stop
  • at the door
  • at the cinema
  • at the end of the street

Use 'at' with places on a page:

  • at the top of the page
  • at the bottom of the page

Use 'at' in groups of people:

  • at the back of the class
  • at the front of the class

On

Use 'on' with vertical or horizontal surfaces that you can lay something onto, or attach something to:

  • on the ceiling / on the wall / on the floor
  • on the table

Use 'on' with small islands:

  • I stayed on Maui.

Use 'on' with directions:

  • on the left
  • on the right
  • straight on

IMPORTANT NOTES

In / at / on the corner

We say 'in the corner of a room', but 'at the corner (or 'on the corner') of a street'

In / at / on the front

  • We say 'in the front / in the back' of a car
  • We say 'at the front / at the back' of buildings / groups of people
  • We say 'on the front / on the back' of a piece of paper

Test Your Understanding

Now that you have studied the use of on / at / in as a preposition of place, try the follow-up quiz to test your understanding.

Prepositions of Place Quiz

Study other prepositions:

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  6. Prepositions for Intermediate
  7. In At and On - Prepositions of Place

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