Prepositions of place: at, in and on

At, in, and on

On, in, and at are prepositions of place. They refer to a place where something or someone is located. Using these small words can be sometimes confusing. This grammar lesson will help you understand how to use them in different situations.


At is used to locate something at a certain point:


  • at the bus station
  • at the entrance
  • at the crossroads
  • at the junction
  • at the top of the mountain
  • at John's house

We were waiting at the bus stop when it started to rain.
He was at the entrance of the theater when he heard the noise.


In is used to locate something enclosed in a space:


  • In a box
  • In a car
  • In a building
  • In my pocket
  • In my bag
  • In New York
  • In Spain

They found a lot of money in his pocket
I've lived in London for two years


On is used to indicate position above and in contact with the surface of something:


  • On the wall
  • On the door
  • On the table
  • On the ceiling
  • On the carpet
  • On the page
  • On the cover

The picture on the wall is fantastic.
You'll find more information about the camp on this page.

In or at?

Sometimes, it is possible to use either the preposition in or at in a sentence. But this may cause a change in meaning of the sentence.

  • I am at the bus stop.

This means you are at a specific point in space near the bus stop.

  • I am in the elevator.

This, however, means that you are inside the elevator. It is all a question of meaning. Changing the preposition causes a change in the meaning of your sentence.

Related pages: