Special uses of some prepositions

September 13, 2010pdf

In and at

Both at and in can be used with the names of cities, towns and villages. We use in when we are talking about the place as an area; we use at when we see it as a point.

Compare:

  • My sister lives in Tokyo.
  • Our plane stopped at Tokyo on the way to Iran. (Tokyo = Tokyo airport)

We use at to talk about group activities and shops/workplaces.

  • I first met him at a party. (NOT …in a party.)
  • There weren’t many people at the meeting.
  • I saw him at the baker’s. (= baker’s shop)

We use in with the names of streets and at when we give the house number.

  • He lives in MG Street.
  • He lives at 128 MG Street.

We use on when we think of a place as a surface.

  • The cat is lying on the floor.
  • Hang this picture on the wall.

Till and until

Both till and until are used of time.

  • We waited till / until 12 o’ clock.
  • He slept till / until 11 am.

Since

Since is used before a noun or phrase denoting some point of time. It is preceded by a verb in the perfect tenses.

  • He hasn’t eaten anything since yesterday.
  • He has been ill since last Monday.
  • It has been raining since yesterday.

In

In is used before a noun denoting a period of time. It means ‘at the end of’. Within means ‘before the end of’.

  • I shall return in an hour. (= at the end of one hour)
  • I shall return within an hour. (= before the end of one hour)
Free Grammar Guide: "120 Deadly Grammar and Vocabulary Mistakes."