the difference between words: on, in, at and for + time

winxp-settings-date-time-properties

The prepositions “on”, “in”, “at” and “for” can be used in many ways depending on the situation. In  my blog entry today, I would like to go over the difference between these words when it comes to talking about time.

The preposition “on” is used when talking about days or dates. For example:

I have to work on Monday, so I can’t stay out late on Sunday night.

I like to go to a temple on New Year’s Day and pray for health and happiness.

My birthday is on April 14th.

The preposition “in” is used when talking about months and years. For example:

I always take a vacation in August.

My company was founded in 1982.

The preposition “at” is used when talking about time. For example:

The meeting will start at 2:30 p.m.

I’ll meet you at the restaurant at 7:00. Is that ok with you?

The preposition “for” is used when making plans or reservations for a future event. For example:

I’d like to make a reservation for October 19th please. Do you have a single room available  then?

I booked the meeting room for 3:00.

Please arrange a meeting with the design team for 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

The use of the word “for” is a little confusing for some people but, as I said before, it’s used to talk about a future time when making arrangements for a future event. So, today is Monday October 11th. Let’s say I call a restaurant today and make a reservation. The day of the dinner will be Friday October 15th. In this situation I would say:

I made a reservation on October 11th for October 15th.

However, we only use “for” when making reservations or arrangements. When we talk about the actual event, we use “on” again. For example:

The reservation is for October 15th.

The dinner will take place on October 15th.

I hope this is clear. I know prepositions can be very difficult, so the best way to learn them is just to memorize them within the context of a full sentence.

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