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

At, in, on – prepositions of place

English grammar chart: at, in, on – prepositions of time

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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.