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Multi-purpose prepositions

The prepositions ‘in’, ‘on’, and ‘at’ often cause lots of problems because they can be used in so many different ways. They can be used for both describing relationships in time, as well as relationships in position or location, or even relationships in movement and direction.

Used in a temporal (time) relationship:

I will be working at five o’clock.

Describes what I will be doing at a certain time.

As a spatial (as in position) relationship:

I will be at the pub tonight.

Describes where I am going to be tonight.

As a directional relationship:

I threw the dart at the board.

Describes the direction that I threw the dart in - towards or ‘at’ the board.