In or at for place and time

In’ and ‘at


We use “in” before the name of

a continent,

a country,

a state and

a town,


in Asia, in Europe, in China, in Germany, in Johor, in Florida, in Kuala Lumpur, in London.

British English usually uses “in” before the name of a street or road,

while American English usually uses “on”,


in Oxford Street, London; in London Road, Leicester;

on 42nd Street, New York; on Main Street, Columbus, Ohio.

At a location such as a building, including our own house, we use “at”,


 “I live at 155 Jalan Tembikai, Bukit Mertajam.”;

“Meet me at the Central Market/Bukit Jalil Stadium, etc.”

You say you are “at home” when you are in the house or flat you live in.

In British English, if you are still a pupil of a school,

you say: “I am still at school”;

if you are a college or university student

you say “I am studying at college/university.”

But if you haven’t come home from school yet and someone asks your mother where you are, she can,

For example,

reply: “My son/daughter is still at/in school, practising for Sports Day.”

If your father is working late, and someone asks you where your father is,

you say “He is still at work.” or

“ He is still at the office.”

There is a very important distinction between “at a/the hospital” and “in hospital”.

You can say that a doctor works at a hospital,

but a patient who occupies a hospital bed is in hospital.

Such a person is said to be hospitalized,

not “warded” as some Malaysians like to say.

When you are in a car driven by someone else,

 you can be in the front seat or in a back seat.

When you are the driver of the car,

you are said to be at the steering wheel of the car.


We use “in” before the names of

centuries, decades,

years and months,

 but “on” before the name of a day,

or a certain date in a month.

And we use “at” before the hours.

For example,

 if someone’s birth certificate includes the following particulars

– “2.30pm, Monday 20.12.1976”,

we can say that she was born:

at 2.30 pm

on Monday

in December

on the 20th day of that month

in 1976

in the 20th century

in the eighth decade of that century

When speaking of the times of the year/month/week,

 we say “at the beginning of the year/month/week ,

at the end of the year/month/week”,

BUT “in the middle of the year/month/week”.

But when speaking of a weekend,

we say “at the weekend” or “over the weekend”

When speaking of the times of the day,

we say in the morning/afternoon/evening,

BUT at night.

Finally, we say “at present”,

BUT “in the past” and “in the future”.

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