Prepositions of LOCATION: How to use IN, ON, and AT

Many great students with a high level of fluency slip up on these 3 tiny words. 

But there is a simple way to learn how. To use these prepositions so you won’t forget how to use IN, ON and AT. 

We use prepositions to describe TIME and LOCATION, today we’ll talk about LOCATION. Our article for TIME is here

OK, let’s get started:

Imagine a pyramid with 3 sections. 

At the bottom is IN, then ON, with AT at the top. The use of the words becomes more specific as you travel up the pyramid. 

IN is the most general, we use it for: 

Countries & Continents & Regions-

for example:

 “in France”, “in Europe”, 

“in the North of England” 

Cities – for example: “in London” 

We also use IN for enclosed spaces – for example “in my car”, 

“in the kitchen” 

ON is more specific than IN, we use it for: 

Streets & avenues – for example:

on main street” 

Public transport – for example: 

“on the train, on the bus” 

We also use ON for means of communication – for example:

“We spoke on the phone” 

“She appeared on TV” 

At is the most specific, we use it for: 

Precise locations – for example: 

At the train station, at home, at work

Addresses – 

I live at number 5, Main Street, London

Let’s look at some more examples: 

I’m on the bus in London. 

The party will be at my house, in France. 

I’m at home but I’ll text you when I am on the train. I will be in London next week. 

She’s in her car, on Oxford Street. 

Try to come up with some of your own examples to practice! 

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