What is a Preposition of Time? | English Grammar | Part - 1

A. Prepositions of Time:

Many prepositions are used to denote time. For example: on Saturday, in the evening, till tomorrow, after breakfast etc. Special care has to be taken while using prepositions:

1. At : point of time i.e. Fixed time :
at 9 o’clock, at the start of class, at the end of the day
But sometimes it can be used to denote : at noon or at midnight
indefinite periods.
The train will leave the station at 5.30 p.m.
The accident happened at noon.
He is going home at Christmas.

2. On : It is used with days and dates : 
On Sunday, On 15th August,
On the Independence Day,
On Monday evening,
On Friday night
The Annual Function will be celebrated in the school on 15th December.
The market will be closed on Sunday.
We shall have a party on Saturday evening.

3. For : It is used when we have to express a period of time. It is used with all tenses.
I have been working in this office for fifteen years.
They have been waiting for the train for thirty minutes.
She stayed at my place for three days.

4. Since : It is used to express a point of time. It is generally preceded
by a verb in some perfect tense.
He has been living in that house since 2016.
They have been playing together since Monday.

5. From and To / till : Generally from is used to denote the starting
point of an action and is mostly used in combination with to or till.
For Example : The match will be played from 9.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
He was the captain of the team from 2006 till 2011.

6. In : It is used with periods of time, i.e.: parts of the day, month, year or seasons.
in an hour, in a few moments, in a week,
in the evening, in the morning, in the afternoon
in May,
in 2017,
in summer / winter
It rained heavily in the morning.
We will have final exams in March.
The Olympics will be held in 2020.

Note : ‘In’ is not used before today, tomorrow or next/ last day.
For Example : It might rain today.
They are going shopping next Monday.
We must also understand the difference between application of ‘on
time’ and ‘in time’ and ‘within’.
‘On time’ is used to denote punctuality : We reached the station on
time. (It means just before the train arrived)
The show begins right on time. (at the scheduled time)
Whereas, ‘in time’ is used to denote a period of time, meaning, at the end of the given time.
The train will leave the station in ten minutes.
While ‘within’ is used to denote a time before the end of time given:
You must return within half an hour.

7. By : It is used to convey the meaning ‘not later than’ or to denote the time at which that action will be over.
For Example : The match will be over by 5.00 p.m. (This expresses that the match may finish before 5 p.m. and at least not later than 5 p.m.)

8. Before and After : We use (before) to denote a point of future time. It implies action taking place at an earlier time.
For Example : We will reach the school before 9.00 a.m.
He will complete his education before the age of eighteen.
While ‘After’ is used to express the end of a period of time in the past. It implies action taking place at a later time.
For Example : India got freedom after a long struggle. (It is followed by a Noun, Pronoun or Gerund.)
Exercise 1
Fill in the blanks with suitable prepositions.
1. The show will be over ______ 5 p.m.
2. His interview will be held ____ Monday, 30th October.
3. Two boys quarrelled _____ the teacher had gone.
4. The new session starts _____ April.
5. They have been living here ______2009.
6. We were at Shimla _____ Monday ___ Friday.
7. The hockey match was played ________ 1p.m._______ 2.20 p.m.
8. They met only ________ thirty minutes.
9. The train arrives _______ 11 o’clock sharp.
10. Our shop opens _____ weekdays only.
Answers : 1. by 2. on 3. after 4. from 5. since 6. from, to 7. from, to 8. for 9. at 10. on

Next Part B : Prepositions of Place Click Here



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