Prepositions often confused
379. To and At
Don’t say: We come at school every morning.
√ Say: We come to school every morning.
Don’t say: Someone is standing to the door.
√ Say: Someone is standing at the door.
Use to to express motion from one place to another, use at to denote position
380. To and Till
Don’t say: We walked till the river and back.
√ Say: We walked to the river and back.
Don’t say: I’ll stay here to next month.
√ Say: I’ll stay here till next month.
Use to with distance, and till (until) with time
381. In and At
Don’t say: Liam has a flat at Paris.
√ Say: Liam has a flat in Paris.
We use in to describe the physical location of something as part of a larger thing or place
Don’t say: My mother is staying in 66 Argyle Street.
√ Say: My mother is staying at 66 Argyle Street.
We use at when we’re talking about an address a public place or building (a bus stop, the Post Office, the library etc.) and cases in which the location is irrelevant but what we do there is what matters (school, the dentist, dance class, etc.)
382. In and Into
Don’t say: Gemma spent all the day into her room.
√ Say: Gemma spent all the day in her room.
Don’t say: Richard came in the room and sat down.
√ Say: Richard came into the room and sat down.
In denotes position inside something, while into denotes motion or direction towards the inside of something
Note: Always write the preposition into as one word
383. On, At, In. (Time.)
Don’t say: My uncle will arrive at Saturday.
√ Say: My uncle will arrive on Saturday.
Don’t say: I usually get up on seven o’clock.
√ Say: I usually get up at seven o’clock.
Don’t say: She goes for a walk at the afternoon.
√ Say: She goes for a walk in the afternoon.
(1) Use on with the days of the week of month on Friday, on March 25, on New Year’s Day
(2) Use at with the exact tune, at four o’clock, at dawn at noon, at sunset, at midnight
(3) Use in with a period of time in April, in winter, in 1945, in the morning. Also at night and by day
384. For and At. (Price.)
Don’t say: I bought a book at fifty pence.
√ Say: I bought a book for fifty pence.
Don’t say: I can’t buy it for such a high price.
√ Say: I can’t buy it at such a high price.
Use for if the actual sum is mentioned use at if the actual sum isn’t given.
Note: if the weight or measure follows the price, use at with the actual sum –> That velvet is available at $5 a metre.
385. Between and Among
Don’t say: There was a fight among two boys.
√ Say: There was a fight between two boys.
Don’t say: Divide the apple between you three.
√ Say: Divide the apple among you three.
Use between for two only. Use among fee more than two
Don’t say: Charlie was standing just besides me.
√ Say: Charlie was standing just beside me.
387. Except for Besides/As well as
Don’t say: I have other books except these.
√ Say: I have other books besides/as well as these (= in addition to these)
Note: Except means to leave out. Everyone present except John.
388. By for With
Don’t say: The man shot the bud by a gun.
√ Say: The man shot the bird with a gun.
When you want to show the means of the instrument with which the action, use with. By denotes the door of the action –> The bird was shoot by the man.
Note: The following take by and not with, by hand, by post, by phone, by one’s watch, by tour, by the dozen, by the metre
389. Front for By
Don’t say: Mary was punished from her father.
√ Say: Mary was punished by her father.
Use by (not from) after the passive form to show the door of the action
390. From for Of or In
Don’t say: He’s the tallest from all the boys.
√ Say: He’s the tallest of all the boys.
Or: He’s the tallest boy in the class.
Precede adjectives (or adverbs) in the superlative degree by the and follow them by of or in
391. For for About
Don’t say: The teacher spoke for bad habits.
√ Say: The teacher spoke about bad habits.
Don’t use for in the sense of about. The chief use of for is to convey the idea of being in favor of if we say that the teacher spoke for bad habits it’s like saying that he/she spoke in favor of bad habits.
392. Since for For
Don’t say: She’s lived here since two years.
√ Say: She’s lived here for two years.
Place the preposition for before words or phrases denoting a period of time, for three days, for six weeks, for two years, for a few minutes, for a long time. Use it with any tense except the present
Note: For is often omitted. We can say “I’ve been here for two years.” or “I’ve been here two years.”
393. From for Since
Don’t say: Ian’s been ill from last Friday.
√ Say: Ian’s been ill since last Friday.
Place the preposition since before words or phrases denoting a point in time since Monday, since yesterday, since eight o’clock, since Christmas. When we use since, the verb is usually in the present perfect tense, but it may be in the past perfect –> I was glad to see Tom. I hadn’t seen him since last Christmas.
Note: From can also denote a point in time, but it must be followed by to or till –> He works from eight o’clock till one o’clock without a break.
394. After for In
Don’t say: I may be able to go after a week.
√ Say: I may be able to go in a week.
Or I may be able to go in a week’s time.
When speaking of a period of time in the future, use in, and not after. Here in means after the end of.
395. In for Within
Don’t say: I’ll come back in an hour – if you mean before the end of an hour.
√ Say: I’ll come back within an hour.
In means after the end of, within means before the end of.
Use of certain prepositions
Prepositions of Place TO and AT
Use TO for movement from one place to another.
Example: I walk to school every day.
Use at to denote position or rest.
Example: He’s waiting at the door.
IN and INTO
In denotes position or rest inside something.
Example: The pencil is in the box.
Into denotes movement towards the inside of.
Example: They walk into the room.
Prepositions of Time: AT, IN, ON
Use at with the exact time.
Example: She arrived at 8 o’clock in the morning.
Use on with days and dates.
Examples: On Sunday we go to church. My birthday is on the third of December.
Use IN with a period of time.
Example: In summer the weather is warm.