Explanations » A1 Grammar Explanations » At, in, on – prepositions of place
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  • At, in, on – prepositions of place

    Color-coded A1 elementary grammar chart outlining the use of prepositions of place 'at', 'in', and 'on' with categorized examples for locations, territories, and various objects.

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    At a point

    We use at to refer to a point near something.

    • Can you see that car at the traffic light? (=The car is at a point near the traffic light)
    • Who is that man at the door? (=The man is at a point near the door)

    At the top of/at the bottom of/at the end of

    We use at in the expressions at the top ofat the bottom of and at the end of.

    • She is at the top of the stairs. 
    • Please sign at the bottom of the page.
    • The new café is at the end of the street. 

    Group activities

    We use at to refer to group activities like parties, concerts, and other events.

    • We were at the cinema. 
    • I didn’t see you at Jackie’s party. 
    • We met at a concert. 

    At + school/university/college

    We normally use at with school, university and college.

    • He is at school every morning until 12. 
    • I’m studying at Oxford University.

    Be at home/work

    We say be at home/at work (without the)

    • She’s at home. blank
    • She’s at the home. blank
    • I’ll be at work all morning. blank
    • I’ll be at the work all morning. blank

    At the shop

    We use at to refer to shops, restaurants, cafés, etc.

    • I’m at the bakery. 
    • If you are at the chemist’s, can you buy some aspirin?


    In a 3D space

    We use in to refer to a position inside of a three-dimensional space.

    • The book is in the bag. 
    • She is waiting in the classroom. 

    In a space with limits

    We also use in for areas that have limits or boundaries, like continents, countries, cities, regions, etc.

    • We are in France. 
    • I love the houses in the Alps.

    In a car

    We use in for cars and vans.

    • They are in the car.

    In the water

    We also use in when something is in the water: in the sea, in the river, in the swimming pool, etc.

    • The kids have fun in the swimming pool. 

    In a picture, in a book

    We also use in for things that are printed in books, pictures, documents, etc.

    • Who’s that woman in the picture?
    • Does it say anything about the concert in the newspaper?


    On a surface

    We use on to refer to a position on a surface.

    • The book is on the table. 

    On the first/second/etc. floor

    We use on to refer to floors in a building.

    • The office is on the third floor. 

    On the right/left

    We use on in the expressions on the right and on the left.

    • The office is on the third floor on the left. 

    On the bus/train/plane

    We use on when we are using public transport: on the bus, on a train, on a plane, etc.

    • She’s on the bus right now. 

    On TV/the radio/the Internet/a website

    We use on when we read, see or learn something in the media.

    • I saw it on TV last night.
    • I learned it on the internet.