Prepositions in expressions of time

Prepositions in expression of time

1. The preposition in

  • months

    in July, in the month of July

    in September, in the month of September

  • years

    in 1996, in the year 1996

    in 2012, in the year 2012

  • seasons

    in summer

    in the summer, in the summer of '69

  • parts of the day

    in the morning

    in the afternoon

    in the evening

  • point of time in the future

    in a minute

    in a fortnight

    in three weeks' time, in three weeks (only when not ambiguous)

  • duration (within a maximum period)

    in a minute

    in two weeks

2. The preposition at

  • parts of the day

    at (the crack of) dawn

    at night

  • time of day

    at 6 (o'clock), at 7 p.m., at 18 hrs (24-hour clock: airports, the military)

    at midday , at noon

    at midnight

  • festive seasons

    at Christmas

    at Easter

  • points in time

    at the weekend (on the weekend, on weekends )

    at the time, at the same time

3. The preposition on

  • days

    on Sunday, on Sundays (Sunday: no preposition journalese)

    on Good Friday

    on my birthday

  • dates

    on the 25(th) of December*

    on December (the) 25(th)*

  • a particular part of a day

    on the morning of September (the) 11(th)*

4. Other prepositions

  • after (following)

    after school

  • as of (starting), more formal than from

    as of tomorrow

  • before (preceding a point in time, future or past)

    before Christmas

  • between ... and (limits of a period)

    between Monday and Friday

  • by (before, at the latest)

    by Thursday

  • during (in the course of a period)

    during the day

    during the holidays (during the vacation )

  • for (duration, future or past)

    for up to 10 weeks

    for five minutes


    not for* three weeks (not ... in three weeks ) * increasingly being replaced by in

    after a superlative:

    the ...est for* two years (the ...est in three weeks ) * increasingly being replaced by in

  • from (starting, as of)

    from today

    from July

  • past (time of the day)

    23 minutes past 6 (6:23) ( also: after)

  • since (from a point of time in the past, still continuing now)

    since Monday

  • till/until (up to a point in time in the future)

    till tomorrow

    until tomorrow

  • to (time of the day)

    23 minutes to 6 (5:37) ( also: before)

  • within (in less time than)

    within a day

5. No preposition

  • next Monday

  • last Tuesday

  • Saturday week

* These words are only spoken, not written (date).