Preposition of Time

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A Preposition is a word placed before a noun, a pronoun, or a gerund to denote the relationship between the person or the thing denoted by it and something else.


Example:

a) The food is on the table.

b) I am fond of music.

c) The boy jumped into the river.

In the first example, the preposition ‘on’ joins a noun to another noun.

In the second example, the preposition ‘of’ joins a noun to an adjective.

In the third example, the preposition ‘into’ joins a noun to a verb.


Classes of Preposition

To understand the distinction between the prepositions, simple Prepositions can also be divided into three classes.


(i) Preposition of Time and Date: 

The words that are used to denote time and date are: at, on, in, by, to, till, until, during, for, since, from, within, before, after, afterward, then, etc.


(ii) Preposition of Place: 

The words that are used to denote places are: at, on, to, behind, etc.


(iii) Prepositions of Travel and Movement: 

The words to denote travel and movement include from, to, by, on, into, at, out, out of, off, etc.

In this segment, we will learn about the Preposition of Time.


1. At, in, on

‘At’ is used to indicate the exact point of time and with the names of festivals or occasions.


Example

The train arrived at 10 o’clock.

My father reached home at midnight.

We will not burst crackers at Diwali.

‘In’ is usually used with a longer time span like seasons, years, months, weeks, day, etc. It also means ‘within’ a certain time period.


Example:

My mother sleeps in the afternoon.

We don’t get good vegetables in the monsoons.

I go for a walk in the evening.

I was very studious in my school days. 

Note: In can also be used to denote at the end of a period of time.


Example:

Ramesh will return in a week.

Please return the book in a week. 

‘On’ is used with specific days and dates, etc.


Example:

My neighbours play cricket on Sunday.

He is going on a tour on his birthday.

The elections will happen on May 23.

We sing the National Anthem on Independence Day.

Note: Don’t use ‘In’ and ‘On’ before today, yesterday, tomorrow, the day after, or next.


Example:

I am going to the mall tomorrow.

It rained heavily yesterday.

It is our turn next.

Note: There is also a difference between in time and on time while using them as prepositions of time. On time, means to be punctual, in time means to be before the time appointed.


Example: 

She got to the movie on time. 

She got to the venue in time to have a talk with the manager.


2. Within, before (when used for time)

‘Within’ denotes a period of time before expiry.


Example:

Ramesh will return within a week.

The results will be out within a week.

‘Before’ is used when we refer to a point in time.


Example:

Children finished their exam before time.

Deepali reached the restaurant before time.


3. After

‘After’ is usually used for the end of a period of time in the past.


Example: 

My grandparents returned after a month.

The admissions will start after a month.

Here, we can also use ‘in’ to denote at the end of a period of time in the future.


Example:

My grandparents will return in a month.

The admissions will start in a month.


4. For, Since, During, Ago

‘For’ is used for a period of time.


Example: 

I have studied with Priyanka for the last three years.

I went out of the house for a minute.

I didn’t meet my friend for ten years.

I have a meeting for one hour.

Note: ‘For’ is used with all tenses. It is followed by a period.


Example:

We lived in this city for ten years.

‘Since’ is used to denote a point in time and never for some time. It is to say that something has started. ‘Since’ is generally used with Perfect Tense. 


Example:

It has been raining since 6 o’clock.

I have been in Bangalore since 2010.

I have this problem since childhood.

She is working with me since last January.

Note: Since can be also used as an adverb and it is followed by a point of time.


Example:

Seema left school in 1995. I haven’t seen her since.

‘During’ is used when a period of time is known, i.e., periods known by names such as Christmas, Diwali; or periods which have already been defined.


Example:

We take out woolen clothes during the winter.

People did not have cars during the middle ages.

We go to Manali during the summer.

‘Ago’ is used as an adverb for a past action at a time that is measured from the present.


Example:

I joined the training five years ago.

We came to the new house three months ago.

He left the job one month ago.

A long time ago there was a monster.


5. Till, until, by

‘Till’ means up to. It can be used with the word  ‘from’ or without it.


Example:

We work till 6:00 pm.

He sat at the tea stall till closing time.

She cried till she got the toy.

The farmer worked from morning till noon. 

‘Until’ means up to a time or before. We use until when the work is continued up to a time limit.


Example:

There were customers in the shop until 10 o’clock.

I will work in this department until next December.

‘By’ denotes not later than a specific time.


Example:

I wake up by 6 o’clock every day.

Tina comes home by 10 o’clock.

I want the work done by the evening.


Solved Questions


Q1. Fill in the Blanks with Suitable Prepositions.

  1. The mail express departs _____________ 2:00pm ____________ Bangalore.

  2. I received his message ___________ 5 o’ clock ___________ the morning.

  3. The movie begins ____________ an hour and I have to be there ____________ 1:00pm.

  4. I reached the party _____________ time but there was nobody ____________ welcome me.

  5. We travelled overnight to London and arrived ______________ 7 o’clock ___________ the morning.

  6. The course begins _____________ 25th June and ends sometime ___________ September.

  7. It is too late to go shopping. The shops are only open __________ 9:30pm. They will be closed ______ now.

  8. He might not be at home ________ Tuesday morning but he will probably be there _________ that afternoon.

  9. __________ the end we decided to go.

  10. I am sorry but Ravi is ___________ holiday at the moment.


Solutions

  1. The mail express departs at 2:00 pm from Bangalore.

  2. I receive his message at 5 o’clock in the morning.

  3. The movie begins in an hour and I have to be there by 1:00 pm.

  4. I reached the party on time but there was nobody to welcome me.

  5. We travelled overnight to London and arrived at 7 o’clock in the morning.

  6. The course begins on 25th June and ends sometime in September.

  7. It is too late to go shopping. The shops are only open until 9:30 pm. They will be closed by now.

  8. He might not be at home on Tuesday morning but he will probably be there in that afternoon.

  9. In the end, we decided to go.

  10. I am sorry but Ravi is on holiday at the moment.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What Do You Understand by Prepositions?

Ans. A Preposition is a word placed before a noun, a pronoun, or a gerund to denote the relationship between a person or the thing denoted by it and something else.

Q2. What are the Classes of Prepositions?

Ans. The classes of prepositions are Preposition of Time and Date, Preposition of Place, Preposition of Travel and Movement, Preposition of Manner.

Q3. How is ‘Since’ Used as a Preposition in a Sentence?

Ans. ‘Since’ is used to denote a point in time and never for a period of time. It is to say that something has started.