Prepositions of Time Usage

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Prepositions of time show the relationship of time between the nouns to the other parts of a sentence.

Common preposition of time: On, at, in, from, to, for, since, ago, before, till/until, by, etc. are the most common.

 

AT, ON, IN

AT:

At always indicates an exact and specific time.

Example:

  • I started working at 10 AM.
  • The movie starts at 6 PM.
  • The shop closes at 30 AM.

Note: Exceptions are that we say – at the weekend, at night, at Chrismas, at Easter, at the moment, etc.

On:

On generally indicates a fixed date or a day.

Example:

  • I’ll see her on Friday.
  • He broke a record on Monday morning.
  • I have a meeting on 25 October

In:

In generally indicates an indefinite and unspecific time of months, seasons, years, centuries, etc.

Example:

  • I will get a holiday in December.
  • Murphy was born in 2001.
  • I love playing cricket in summer.

Note: Some very common exceptions are – in the morning, in the evening, in the afternoon, in five minutes, in six days, in two years, etc.

 

FROM....TO ,  UNTIL,  SINCE,  FOR

From....to:

From....to  indicates a fixed time-span with the beginning and the end.

Example:

  • I worked there from 2010 to 2017.
  • I usually work from Saturday to Thursday.
  • I will stay there from 10 AM to 6 PM.

Until/till:

Until/till indicates a specific or unspecific time/event up to a point.

Example:

  • They will not return until Friday.   
  • Wait for me until I return.
  • I do not give up until I am succeeded.
  • I will be there until Monday.

Since:

Since indicates a time-span beginning in a time in the past and still continuing in the present (now).

Example:

  • Alex has been in the village since Sunday.
  • He has been suffering from fever since Friday.
  • Robin and Susan have been friends since childhood.

For:

For indicates a period of time (amount of time) in the past, present or future.

Example:

  • He stayed there for four days.
  • I will be staying there for five months.
  • I will work with them for a year.
  • He was standing there for a long time.

 

BEFORE, AFTER, DURING, BY

Before:

Before indicates a prior event/ period of time from a point. 

Example:

  • Robin was very nervous before the interview.
  • I want to leave before lunch.
  • These batsmen should not get out before the tea break.
  • Before going, close all the window.

After:

After indicates a following event/period of time from a point. This preposition is the exact opposite of before.

Example:

  • Robin felt confident after the interview.
  • I want to leave after lunch.
  • After playing football, we went home.

During:

During indicates a period of time throughout the course or duration of any event or action.

Example:

  • Robert was sleeping during the film.
  • They don’t talk during dinner.
  • I don’t usually smoke during office time.

By:

By means ‘within the extent or period of; during’ something.

Example:

  • I will complete the assignment by Sunday.
  • He will return by 6 PM.
  • I will submit the list by 11 AM.

Read More: Prepositions of Places & Direction Usage

Read More: Use of Prepositions : Of, About, For, With, By

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