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Prepositions of Place

Perfect English Grammar

Prepositions of place can be difficult - here's some help about using 'at', 'in' and 'on' when you're talking about where things are.


If something is contained inside a box or a wide flat area, we use ‘in’:

in the newspaper in a house
in a cup in a drawer
in a bottle in a bag
in bed in a car
in London in England
in a book in a pub
in a field in the sea
in my stomach in a river

If something is on a line or a horizontal or vertical surface, we use ‘on’:

on the table on the wall
on the floor on the window
on my face on a plate
on the page on the sofa
on a chair on a bag
on the river on a t-shirt
on the ceiling on a bottle
on a bike on his foot

If something is at a point, (it could be a building) we use ‘at’:

at the airport at the door
at the table at the bus stop
at the cinema at the top
at the bottom at the pub
at the traffic lights at the front
at the back at school
at university at the window
at the hospital at the piano

Here are some more common ones that don't really fit:

  • on TV
  • on the bus
  • on a train
  • on a plane
  • on the radio
  • at home
  • at work

Click here to download this explanation as a pdf.

Try an exercise about prepositions of place here.
Try another one here.