The prepositions at, on, in and to

The prepositions at, in, on and to are very common. However, they are often confused.

When to use in

The preposition ‘in’ shows position. It is used to indicate position inside spaces.

  • She is in the office.
    There is some water in the bottle.
    He put the envelope in his pocket.
    The lion is in the cage.
    The children are playing in the garden.

In is used with bodies of water.

  • Lots of fish live in this pond.

Use ‘in’ with lines

  • There is a spelling mistake in the third line.
    Who is that pretty girl standing in the second row?
    I don’t mind waiting in a queue.

When to use at

Use at with places.

  • I met him at the bus stop.
  • He met his fiancée at a party.
  • Let us meet at the café.
  • There is a cinema at the end of this street.

When to use on

Use ‘on’ to show position on the surface of water.

  • Toys were lying on the floor.
  • She put the books on the table.
  • The spider is on the ceiling.
  • They hung the picture on the wall.

‘On’ can be used with directions. Examples are: on the right and on the left.

When to use to

To indicates movement from one place to another.

  • She went to work.
  • I went to Germany to meet my sister.