Prepositions Of Time
(Happy Birthday, Mac!)
It was Mac's birthday on Friday.
We use on when we talk about things happening on a certain day of the week or a specific date.
I went to the library on Monday.
On Saturday you watched a movie.
The exam is on the 21st of June.
The TV show starts on the 1st of July.
Rory, stop it!
I'm just testing it!
We use in with months, years, seasons and general times of the day.
I start school in the morning.
Man walked on the moon in 1969.
The leaves turn yellow and red in the autumn.
My birthday is in May.
Can you come? Yes...in the afternoon. It's a surprise. Don't tell him. OK!
Rory planned a party for him in the afternoon.
Yeah...good. Where do you want me to put these toys?
We use while to describe something happening as something else is happening too.
verb + while + verb
Rory fell asleep while he was watching TV.
Mum took Mac for a walk, while Rory got the house ready with his friend, Paul.
Does this look OK?
Hey guys, come on in!
We use before to describe something happening first, to be followed by something else.
I eat my sandwich before my apple.
He read the book before he saw the movie.
We're going to the park before we go home.
Mac’s friends arrived before Mum and Mac came home.
Here, when means just at that moment.
I eat my dinner when it's ready.
She goes skiing when it snows.
They left the party when the taxi came.
Mac got a shock when he came back.
They sure know how to party!
During is like while but we use it with a noun.
while + verb
during + noun
We didn't talk while we were watching the movie.
We didn't talk during the movie.
Rory and Paul took a break during "play time".
We use at for something happening at a specific time.
School finishes at 3.30pm.
I have my dinner at 6.00pm.
She's coming at 4 o'clock.
Get off! Mac, help me!
At half past four, Rory brought out food.
And then at quarter to five, he brought out the cake.
Ah Mac, you have to blow harder than that!
Mac’s friends stayed until 7.00pm.
Bye! Thanks so much for coming!... Thank goodness! I thought they'd never leave!
Bye! Thanks a million!
We use until for things happening up to a certain time.
I waited until 2 o'clock.
He was there until morning.
She lived there until she was 10.
After the party, Mac and Rory cleaned up.
How did you and your friends make so much mess?
Here are some more examples:
We went home after watching the movie.
They had ice cream after dinner.
In the evening, the two friends were completely exhausted!
to test something: to check something
to be shocked: to be surprised
to make a mess: to make something untidy
exhausted: really, really tired
autumn (UK English): fall (US English)