Preposition Guide For IELTS

Preposition is a vast area in English language. You need preposition almost in every sentence you use. It is beyond of our scope to discuss here everything about preposition. We will just cover some important ones that you will need frequently in your writing. Let's dive in:

Express Time using at/on/in  

In for longer periods (months/years etc.) On for days and dates. And at for the time of a day.

For example:

She was born in 1994

She was born on Friday

She slept at 6 pm and woke up at midnight

Do not use at/on/in before last/next/this/every:

For example:

Please, come here next Sunday.

He completed graduation last August.

I'm going home this week.

Use on time if something happens exactly at the time that was planned. If you say that something is going to happen soon, you need to use in time. 

For example:

The train left the station on time.

I will be home in time for the lunch.

Express Position using at/on/in  

If you mean something is getting inside from outside, use Into. If something is already there inside, use in

For example:

  • The thief broke into the house and took away everything.

  • Mike had been sleeping in his room, he didn't notice that a thief broke into their house and took away everything.

If a location is identified as a point of place rather than a whole area, use at. 

For Example:

It was a dark midnight. He was standing at the door and kept calling us to go outside. We were afraid in the room sensing the imminent danger.

If something is attached to something else, use on. If it's not attached on, and moving, use over. Use above if it's neither attached nor moving, though over and above are interchangeable most of the time.

For Example:

  • All the books are on the table. 

  • Don't write on the wall.

  • The birds flew over my head.

  • Water was leaking from above.

Important Prepositions in Use

Spend a few minutes in the following expressions that are written with appropriate prepositions. I guarantee you, if you can remember these few rules/expressions, you will be damn confident in preposition usage. Here we go:

Use as:

He woke up at 10 o'clock in the morning.

He will come here on Friday.

He was born in September. 

He was born in 1995

He was born on 18 July, 1995.

Use as:

I will come there at the weekend/at weekend/on the weekend (all three are correct)

Use IN and ON as:

in the morning           

but on Sunday morning

in the afternoon         

but on Wednesday afternoon

in the evening           

but on Tuesday evening

Use ON as:

On the right, on the left, on the right-hand side, on the left-hand side, on a map, on a website, on a page, on a list, on a road, on the coast, on a river (as: London is on the river Thames), on the ground floor, on the first floor, and so on.

Use at the end as:

At the end of something, at the beginning of something

Example: At the end of February. But, in the beginning of the film.

But for in the end,

"In the end" means "finally". That means final result/outcome of something.

Example: I wanted to buy a new laptop with more advanced configuration. I needed more money for that, but I had no money. In the end I sold my old laptop and made some money.

Use IN as:

We see somebody or something is in a newspaper/in a book/ in a picture/ in a photograph/ in a row/ in a queue/ in a department/ in the sky/ in the world.

 

Use at as:

at the bottom, at the end, at the top of the page, at the other end, 

If something is in the car, you should say in the front/ in the back of the car.

If you mean you are at a theatre/ building/ group of people etc. you should say at the front/ at the back. As in "he is waiting at the front of the theatre", and "the statue is at the front of the house."

If you mean these issues in case of a piece of paper/ an envelop, use, on the front/ on the back, as in "he wrote her address on the back of the envelop." 

You can check the following resources: